The plaintiff, Mary Pearce, worked for Universal Lubricants for 16 years selling lubricants. In 2016, Petrochoice acquired Universal. Petrochoice told Pierce and the other employees they must sign a non-compete agreement. A few months later, Petrochoice fired Pearce. Because of the non-compete agreement, Pearce had trouble finding work. A few months later, she found a new job working in the same field. {Pearce filed a decartary action asking a court to declare then-compete null and void. Pearce alleged in her lawsuit that Petrochoice did not provide any consideration in exchange for execution of the non-compete.

General Allegations

Caselaw on non-competes says that if an employer provides confidential information to an employee in exchange for the employee signing the non-compete, then that confidential information serves as consideration. Petrochoice argued on appeal that it provided confidential information to Pearce in return for her signing the con-compete agreement. That confidential information included, said the employer, names of clients, volume and history of purchases, accounts receivable information, information concerning the Petrochoice products, profit margins, sale information, etc. But, it provided no specific information in its affidavit. The former employer was essentially simply submitting a boiler plate affidavit, with no specific information that was allegedly provided to this one specific salesperson.

Laundry List

The court described this as a “laundry list” of alleged information with no specifics. It included no evidence that it had actually provided that information to Pearce. We have to wonder what Petrochoice might have provided to Pearce, a 16 year salesperson, within the few months she worked there. In fact, Pearce testified that she herself provided confidential information about pricing to Petrochoice.

The court found the affidavit was conclusory and rejected it. Without evidence that Petrochoice had actually provided confidential information to Pearce, the court of appeals found in favor of the employee. See the decision Petrochoice Holdings v. Pearce, No. 12-20-00106, 2021 LEXIS 272  (Tex.App. Tyler 1/13/2021) here.

It’s just a simple thing to provide actual evidence, instead of a laundry list of standard types of information. But, it may be that Petrochoice did not have such evidence.