MO Supreme Court & Non-Competes
The Missouri Supreme Court has handed down 2 significant decisions, in the last 10 years, regarding the enforceability and limits thereto.
In Healthcare Services of the Ozarks v Copeland 198 S.W.3d 604 (Mo. 2006) the court upheld the enforceability of non-compete agreements so long as the agreements were limited in scope regarding the geographic area covered and the time. This decision upheld a non-compete agreement that covered a radius of 50 miles and a time period of 2 years. The court limited the enforceability to trade secrets and customer contacts.
In the more recent case, Whelan Security Co. v. Kennebrew, 2012 Mo. LEXIS 167, 2012 WL 3627773 (Mo. August 14, 2012) the court chose to re-write overly broad restrictions to fit the precedents set in Copeland and elsewhere. The takeaway is that even overly broad provisions in non-compete agreements are enforceable to the previously set limits regardless of how they were drafted in the actual agreement.
As a result of these decisions, Missouri remains one of the most business-friendly states regarding the enforceability of non-compete agreements.
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