Superior Court affirms Elliott Greenleaf’s Jury Verdict on trade secret and contract claims

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the unanimous jury verdict obtained by Elliott Greenleaf defeating a former employer’s efforts to enforce an ambiguous employment contract. The Superior Court incorporate the trial court’s detailed findings based on a twelve person jury in Montgomery County returning an unanimous defense verdict in favor of Elliott Greenleaf’s client. The Jury found that a plaintiff former employer could not recover lost profits from the defendant former employee under non-solicitation/non-disclosure restrictive covenants in a written employment agreement after it sold its high end business. The former employer claimed a legally protectable interest in commissions allegedly owed to it under an earn-out from its sale to another business which were allegedly diverted to the defendant’s new employer.

The Superior Court deferred to the jury’s finding, after review of over one hundred exhibits and days of testimony, that the former employer could not establish a valid employment contract to enforce post-termination obligations such as the restrictive covenants and a repayment of alleged commission advances. As the jury found there was no valid post-employment restrictions to enforce, the former employer also could not collect on its claim for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees under a fee shifting provision in the same employment contract. The Superior Court further affirmed the award of sanctions imposed by the trial court against the Plaintiff and its lawyer for their vexatious misconduct in discovery.

Firm shareholder Mark A. Kearney, along with Stewart J. Greenleaf, Jr. and Aimee L. Kumer, represented the successful former employee at trial and before the Pennsylvania Superior Court.