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Total Safety U.S., Inc. v. Code Red Safety & Rental, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

November 6, 2019

TOTAL SAFETY U.S., INC., et al.
v.
CODE RED SAFETY & RENTAL, LLC, et al.

         SECTION “F”

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARTIN L. C. FELDMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Todd Meyer's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss Total Safety's breach-of-contract claim. For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.

         Background

         This litigation arises from trade secrets an employee allegedly stole from his former employer after he abruptly resigned and joined a competitor. Principally at issue is the enforceability of a non-solicitation provision in the employee's contract. The employee says the provision is void under a Louisiana law limiting non-compete agreements. See La. Rev. Stat. § 23:921. The employer rejoins that the provision is valid and subject to reformation if not.

         Total Safety U.S. provides integrated industrial safety services to the petrochemical industry. It acquired another national safety service provider, Airgas On-Site Safety Services, in the summer of 2019. The company then changed its name to Total Safety On-Site Safety Services. The parties call this company “Total Safety, ” and the Court does the same.

         Less than one month post-acquisition, several senior employees left Total Safety and joined a competitor--Code Red Safety & Rental. Todd Meyer was one such employee.

         Total Safety hired Meyer as a safety sales specialist in May 2014. As a condition of his employment, Meyer signed a Confidentiality and Non-Solicitation Agreement containing a non-solicitation provision:

3. During employment and for a period of one (1) year following the termination of such employment for whatever reason, the Associate shall not, directly or indirectly, on behalf of himself/herself or any other person, firm, other business entity or corporation, solicit any Customer of the Company with whom the Associate had material business-related contact or about whom the Associate had access to Confidential Information, for the purpose of: (a) soliciting such Customer to purchase a Conflicting Product or Service; (b) interfering with the Company's relationship with its Customer by encouraging such Customer to cease doing business with the Company or to reduce the amount of business such Customer does with the company. Associates in Arizona, North Dakota, California, Wisconsin and Louisiana are directed to Exhibit B for important limitations on this restriction and the other restrictions in this Agreement.

         * * *

         Exhibit B - State-Specific Modifications

         D. Louisiana.

         For a Louisiana resident, for so long as the Associate resides in Louisiana and is subject to the laws of Louisiana: the enforcement of the restrictions in Paragraphs [sic] 3 will be limited within the state [sic] of Louisiana to the Parishes in which the Associate assisted Company in providing its products and services, as are indicated below by circling; provided, however, that nothing in Agreement may be construed to prohibit the enforcement of Paragraphs [sic] 3 in accordance with their terms in states outside of Louisiana.

Acadia

Allen

Ascension

Assumption

Avoyelles

Beauregard

Bienville

Bossier

Caddo

Calcasieu

Caldwell

Cameron

Catahoula

Claiborne

Concordia

DeSoto

East Baton Rouge

East Carroll

East Feliciana

Evangeline

Franklin

Grant

Iberia

Iberville

Jackson

Jefferson

Jefferson Davis

Lafayette

Lafourche

La Salle

Lincoln

Livingston

Madison

Morehouse

Natchitoches

Orleans

Ouachita

Plaquemines

Pointe Coupee

Rapides

Red River

Richland

Sabine

St. Bernard

St. Charles

St. Helena

St. James

St. Mary

St. John the Baptist

St. Landry

St. Martin

St. Tammany

Tangipahoa

Tensas

Terrebonne

Union

Vermillion

Vernon

Washington

Webster

West Baton Rouge

West Carroll

West Feliciana

Winn


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