Recently, in Acclaim Systems, Inc. v. Infosys, a three- member Third Circuit appellate panel weighed in on an issue concerning tortious interference with contracts and non-compete agreements. The case involved an employer who hired four new employees bound by covenants not to compete, but had no knowledge that the new hires were so bound.
The Third Circuit, in an opinion that is not precedential, upheld the District Court’s decision, which dismissed the tortious interference claims that had been levied against the new employer.
By way of background, the Acclaim case involved two Pennsylvania Internet Technology (IT) vendors were competing for a project with a major cable company. One of the IT vendors, Acclaim, had been on the project from the beginning until the other vendor, Infosys, took over the project before its completion. During the transition period, several Acclaim personnel began working for Infosys, despite covenants not to compete. Thereafter, Acclaim filed a lawsuit against Infosys for tortious interference.
The District Court found that Infosys had no knowledge that the employees had restrictive covenants in their contract, though Infosys was allegedly aware that they had formerly worked for their competitor. The Third Circuit in Acclaim agreed with the District Court’s opinion, finding that under Pennsylvania law, Infosys could not tortiously interfere with contracts of which it had no knowledge. The Third Circuit also declined to weigh-in on whether a standard of “willful blindness” to employees’ contracts may apply to tortious interference claims, which also would not seem to apply to Infosys, who had not shut its eyes, but made various inquiries to the employees about their prior employment.
Philadelphia Non-Compete Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients in Tortious Interference Claims
The Philadelphia non-compete lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. counsel businesses and employees on restrictive covenants and employment disputes. We also routinely handle litigation related to tortious interference, non-compete agreements and contractual claims. To schedule a consultation, call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online today.