Northern District of Illinois Federal Court Grants Motion to Strike Plaintiff’s Request for Injunctive Relief in Breach of Contract Case

Lubin Austermuehle has successfully litigated many business disputes, and in our many years of experience we have found that contract claims are among the most contentious conflicts. Because so many of our clients deal with breach of contract issues, our Elmhurst business attorneys are always mindful of new court decisions issued in this area of the law. In fact, our lawyers just discovered one such case, Jumpfly Inc. v. Torling, in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Jumpfly Inc. v. Torling pits a Plaintiff employer against two former employees who allegedly violated the non-compete agreements signed when they were hired by Plaintiff. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Torling started a competing pay-per-click internet advertising side-business while in Defendant’s employ, and upon discovering its employee’s side-business, fired him and sent a cease and desist letter demanding that he stop violating the non-compete. The parties eventually negotiated a settlement allowing Torling to continue his business, but the agreement prohibited him from soliciting any of Plaintiff’s employees. Torling allegedly solicited Defendant Burke — who was working for Plaintiff at the time under a similar non-compete agreement — and got him to quit his position with Plaintiff to work for Defendant Torling.

Plaintiff then filed suit against the two individuals and the new company (Windy City) that they worked for — alleging rescission of a settlement agreement, breach of contract, violations of the Lanham Act and Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and intentional interference with contract based upon non-compete agreements between the parties. Plaintiff’s requested the Court to enjoin Defendants’ competitive business conduct and for monetary damages. In response, Defendants filed a motion to strike Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief and filed a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6).

The Court granted the motion to strike as to the breach of contract claim because the two year term of the non-compete agreement had already expired and an injunction would result in an unreasonable restraint of trade. The Court also noted that Plaintiff’s seven-month delay — after discovery of the illicit conduct — in asking for an injunction also weighed in favor of Defendants. The Court denied the motion to strike as to the statutory claims, however, because injunctive relief is provided by both laws which rendered the motion premature.

Next, the Court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss the breach of contract and intentional interference with contract claims due to pleading insufficient facts that Defendant Windy City induced either of the individual Defendants to breach their contracts with Plaintiff. In dismissing Plaintiffs conspiracy to interfere with contract, the Court applied the Intracorporate Conspiracy Doctrine and declined to agree with Plaintiff’s argument that Defendants’ conduct fell with in an exception to the rule. Finally, the Court denied the motion to dismiss the settlement agreement breach claim as the effect of Defendants’ breaches had yet to be determined.

Lubin Austermuehle is a full-service litigation firm based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois that focuses on handling many of the legal issues confronting businesses in today’s world. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants, and we have experience representing clients in matters ranging from contract disputes to actions to enforce restrictive covenants. Our attorneys have over two and half decades of experience in business litigation and have won favorable verdicts in “bet the business” lawsuits. Lubin Austermuehle has a cadre of Chicago business litigation lawyers who can identify and understand the legal issues in a dispute, no matter how complex they may be. We will use our resources and knowledge to formulate a plan of action that will help further your interests, resolve your problems, and get you back to growing your business. Our focus with each client is to resolve the legal issues efficiently and by minimizing costs as much as practical, while still providing outstanding representation. If your business is being sued or you are seeking advice to stay out of court, call our Chicago business lawyers to discuss what Lubin Austermuehle can do for you. For a consultation, call 630-333-0333 or send us an email through our website.

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