Logourl black

Town & Country House & Home Service, Inc. v. Newbery

Court of Appeals of New York
147 N.E.2d 724 (1958)


Facts

Town & Country House & Home Service, Inc. (T&C) (plaintiff) was a house cleaning business run by Mr. Rossmore. Mrs. Rossmore, wife of T&C’s president, built the company’s customer base by randomly calling residents in a certain section of town that she determined might contain likely prospects. Selling T&C’s service was very difficult. Mrs. Rossmore typically made hundreds of calls to gain a small number of prospects. After interested prospects were contacted, Mrs. Rossmore would make appointments to visit them personally to close the sales and determine the prices they would be charged. Newbery and some associates (Newbery et al.) (defendants) worked for T&C for nearly three years. After terminating their employment with T&C, Newbery et al. formed their own house cleaning company which directly competed with their former employer.  Newbery et al. built  their customer base by soliciting T&C’s customers. After discovering that Newbery et al. solicited its customers, T&C sued Newbery et al., alleging that Newbery et al. had engaged in unfair competition. In its complaint, T&C contended that its business was “unique, personal and confidential” and that Newbery et al. breached their confidential relationship with T&C by appropriating its trade secrets, i.e., T&C’s customer information, for competitive purposes. The trial court dismissed T&C’s complaint, holding that there was nothing secret or confidential about T&C’s business, and that T&C did not represent to Newbery et al. that its customer information was confidential.  The appellate division reversed the trial court’s decision, finding that Newbery et al., while working for T&C, conspired to quit T&C, form their own business and appropriate T&C’s customers for their own gain. The Appellate Division held that Newbery & Assoc.’s actions constituted a violation of the fiduciary obligations they owed to T&C as employees, and thus T&C was entitled to relief.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Van Voorhis, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • 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.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Here's why 89,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 12,195 briefs - keyed to 164 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now