Non-compete unenforceable because of COVID-19? Florida Appellate Court says no.
Florida employers received some good news when it comes to enforcing non-competition agreements during this unique time.
A Miami trial court refused to enforce a non-competition agreement against a former employee finding that not allowing the employee to exercise his profession during the COVID-19 pandemic would be contrary to Florida public policy. The Third District Court of Appeals reversed that decision on September 1. In reversing, the appellate court found that the trial court’s finding that preventing the employee from working in his field would not serve the public interest was in conflict with Florida’s non-compete statute, specifically Section 542.335(1)(g)1., which provides that “[i]n determining the enforceability of a restrictive covenant, a court . . . [s]hall not consider any individualized economic or other hardship that might be caused to the person against whom enforcement is sought.” The appellate court ruled that the trial court erred in denying the injunction based on individualized hardship and abused its discretion in finding that there was insufficient evidence to establish a violation of the non-compete.
The appellate decision is available at GFA Int’l, Inc., v. Eric Trillas, et al., 3D21-619, 2021 WL 3889283, at *1 (Fla. 3d DCA Sept. 1, 2021).
For more information, please contact Maggie Knaust.