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Systems and Software, Inc. v. Barnes

Vermont Supreme Court
886 A.2d 762 (2005)


Facts

Randy Barnes (defendant) was a sophisticated consultant who accepted a position with Systems and Software, Inc. (Systems) (plaintiff) as a regional vice president of sales. Systems was a corporation that designed, developed, sold, and serviced customer-information systems for utility providers. Barnes signed a non-compete agreement when he started working for Systems. The agreement prohibited Barnes from becoming associated with any business that competed with Systems during his employment and for six months after his employment ended. Approximately two years after taking the position, Barnes left Systems and started a consulting group. The consulting group’s single client was a competitor of Systems. Systems sued Barnes, seeking an injunction enforcing the non-compete agreement. Barnes did not put forth any proof of hardship other than a blanket statement that he would be unable to work for six months. The trial court granted relief to Systems and ordered Barnes to refrain from consulting for any direct competitor of Systems. Barnes appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Reiber, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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