Town & Country House & Home Service vs. Newbery
October 10, 1957
Court of Appeals of New York
Nassau County, NY
- Plaintiff: Town & Country House & Home Service (former employer)
- Defendant: Newbery(former employees)
- Defendants were employed by Plaintiff for a period of 3 years
- Defendants severed relationship to start their own company
- Defendants were exposed to trade secrets during their time of employment with Plaintiff
- Defendants solicited only the plaintiff’s customers; they were not equally available.
- With the exception of a ‘customers list’, no secrets were involved
- Defendants only met to discuss new venture outside of business hours
- Defendants employment was ‘at will’; no prior notice of resignation is legally required
Were the defendants acting under principles of ‘unfair competition’?
Summary of Arguments:
Argues that his business model was “unique, personal, and confidential”; and that the defendants breached the confidentiality agreement in order to use the plaintiffs trade secrets for their own gain. The defendants had conspired to form a business of their own and solicit customers from the plaintiff, all while still under the plaintiffs employ.
Argue that the the business was not unique and could be done by others; and that the defendants customers were obtained solely through their own means away from business hours