It is not uncommon for business owners to ask their employees to enter into non-compete or non-disclosure agreements. If a former employee subsequently starts a competing business in violation of an agreement, the business owner can take legal action against the employee to recover damages. In many cases, however, the employee may be protected from enforcement of the agreement under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (TCPA) which is an anti-SLAPP law.
In a recent case in which an automatic stay had been issued pursuant to an interlocutory appeal following a denial of a motion to dismiss pursuant to TCPA, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled that a trial court lift the automatic stay to conduct proceedings. If you are a business owner or an employee subject to a non-compete or non-disclosure agreement you should meet with a skilled Texas civil litigation attorney to discuss your options for seeking recourse for any alleged violation of the agreement.
Factual and Procedural Background
It is alleged that the plaintiff, a scrap metal recycling company, filed a lawsuit against defendant, another scrap metal recycling company started by some of plaintiff’s former employees, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, and other related claims. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss under the TCPA. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, after which the defendant filed an interlocutory appeal. Pursuant to Texas statutory law, the appeal triggered a stay of all proceedings in the case.