Product Action International, Inc. v. Mero
United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
277 F.Supp.2d 919 (2003)
Carl Mero (defendant) was a salesman for Product Action International, Inc. (PAI) (plaintiff). Mero’s role was to sell PAI’s automotive quality-control services. Mero was subject to a non-competition agreement, which was drafted by PAI. The agreement stated that, for a period of 24 months following termination of Mero’s employment, Mero would not engage with a competitive business in any way. A competitive business was defined as one that (1) did business or sought to do business with a PAI customer, (2) did business or sought to do business within a 100-mile radius of any facility where PAI did business, or (3) did business in the preceding 12 months in any state or country in which PAI did business or planned to do business. The agreement also stated that if any part of the agreement was considered by law to be too broad, the agreement would be enforced to the maximum extent possible. PAI provided Mero with one week of sales training, during which he was taught how to sell PAI’s products. Mero later became employed as a salesman by Quality Industrial Services (QIS). Like PAI, QIS performed quality control and quality insurance inspections for the automotive industry. QIS thus qualified as a competitive business under the non-competition agreement. Mero’s office at QIS was located approximately 20 miles from his former office at PAI. While working for QIS, Mero contacted several businesses that did business with PAI. Mero obtained business for QIS from customers he had while at PAI. PAI brought suit to enforce the non-competition agreement. PAI suggested edits to the agreement to bring the agreement within the scope allowed by law. PAI also argued that the agreement could be rewritten by the court to bring it into compliance. The case was heard in federal court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hamilton, J.)
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