What does your Non-Compete really mean?

Imagine this:

CALLER: “Dear attorney, my contract says I can sell Christmas trees within a 150 miles from my old Christmas tree stand. Does that mean 150 miles by road, or as the crow flies?”

ATTORNEY: “Well, that depends. Does the contract specify? No? Then it means what the parties thought it meant when they signed it. What? No discussion? Well it means what the court thinks it means. You don’t want to pay me to find out what a judge thinks? I don’t blame you. So my answer is still, it depends.”

                                  OR

CALLER: “Dear attorney, my contract says I can sell Christmas trees within a 150 miles from my old Christmas tree stand. Does that mean I can’t make wreaths too?”

ATTORNEY: “Well, that depends. Does the contract specify? No? Then it means what the parties thought it meant when they signed it. What? No discussion? Well it means what the court thinks it means. You don’t want to pay me to find out what a judge thinks? I don’t blame you. So my answer is still, it depends.”

                                  OR

CALLER: “Dear attorney, my contract says I can sell Christmas trees within a 150 miles from my old Christmas tree stand. Does that mean my wife can’t open a Christmas tree stand within the 150 miles and I just work at home as a stay at home Dad?”

ATTORNEY: “Well, that depends. Are you really asking can you pretend it’s not your business, claim it’s your wifes and lie about it? No. Does the contract specify you can’t own a Christmas tree stand or be involved in anyway? No? Then it means what the parties thought it meant when they signed it. What? No discussion? Well it means what the court thinks it means. You don’t want to pay me to find out what a judge thinks? I don’t blame you. So my answer is still, it depends.”

 

christmas tree

 

Are you seeing a pattern here?

Most contracts have vague and ambiguous language. Sadly, they are often vague and ambiguous on the important parts. We will do our best to explain what the contract actually means, legally and practically, and steer you clear of missteps that will lead to litigation. But sometimes, employers sue, even when they have suffered no damages. Even when they can’t prove economic loss (and therefore win a breach of contract case) and even when they have suffered no real harm. 

Sometimes, people sue to be bullies.

So, in case you need to know where to open your Christmas tree stand next year – call us. We would be happy to help.  

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.