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Legal Memorandum: Breach of Employee Non-Solicitation Agreements

Issue: What is the relevant law in Minnesota on the breach of an employee non-solicitation agreement?

Area of Law: Employee Law
Keywords: Breach of agreement; Non-solicitation agreement
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 134 N.W.2d 892; 125 N.W.2d 844; 317 N.W.2d 710; 958 F. Supp. 1258; 478 N.W.2d 498; 343 N.W.2d 691; 472 N.W.2d 358; 458 N.W.2d 728; 137 N.W.2d 314; 630 N.W.2d 438; 499 N.W.2d 500; 632 N.W.2d 732; 568 N.W.2d 186; 536 N.W.2d 24; 266 N.W.2d 882; 843 F. Supp. 415; 313 N.W.2d 628; 136 F.3d 537
Cited Statutes: Restatement of Torts § 766B; Employment Law & Practice § 13.14
Date: 02/01/2005

  In Bromen Office 1, Inc. v. Coens, No. A04-946 (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 28, 2004) (unpublished), an employer brought suit alleging, inter alia, breach of the restrictive covenants in its employment contracts, tortious interference with contract, and unfair competition against three former employees, their new employer, and the owner of the new employer.  Id. The plaintiff, Bromen Office, sought a temporary injunction to enjoin its former employees from working for the new employer and to enjoin the new employer from soliciting any other Bromen employees.  Id.  The court set out the five factors to be considered when determining whether to grant a temporary injunction:

(1) the nature and background of the parties’ relationship; (2) the relative harm suffered by either party, including whether the moving party would suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary injunction; (3) the relative likelihood of success on the merits; (4) public policy considerations; and (5) the administrative burden created by judicial enforcement and supervision of a temporary injunction.     

Id. (citing Medtronic, Inc. v. Advanced Bionics Corp., 630 N.W.2d 438, 451 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001); Dahlberg Bros., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 272 Minn. 264, 274-75, 137 N.W.2d 314, 321-22 (1965)).  See also 17 Minn. Prac., Employment Law & Practice § 13.14 (2d ed. 2005) (stating the temporary injunction factors as “(1) the nature of the relationship between the parties before the dispute giving rise to the request for relief; (2) the harm to be […]