Garon Foods v. Montieth, Case No. 13-214 (S.D. Ill. July 2, 2013)(Gilbert)
In a well reasoned and balanced opinion, Judge Gilbert of the Southern District of Illinois granted a much limited preliminary injunction in an employment case.
The facts of this case are that Garon is in the business of selling peppers to various cheese manufacturers. It receives all (or nearly all) of its peppers from a single supplier. Montieth had worked for Garon in selling peppers. She then left of her own accord and went to work for the manufacturer. Interestingly, Garon had no non-compete agreement with Montieth, but she did sign an agreement recognizing trade secret protection in the identity of Garon’s supplier, the sales terms that Montieth had negotiated with customers in the past, and other items.
Judge Gilbert granted Garon a limited preliminary injunction prohibiting Montieth from soliciting business from any cheese manufacturer she had attempted to solicit for Garon in the twelve months prior to her leaving Garon, but for a limited period of only 8 additional months. She is also enjoined (apparently permanently) from mentioning to any cheese manufacturer that she knew to be a customer of Garon’s during her employment that her present employer supplies Garon.