Departure Emails

The US District Court for MD Florida recently issued another opinion on a recurring issue – departure emails.  Technomedia Solutions, LLC v. Scopetto, 2013 WL 6571558.  Plaintiff Technomedia hired Defendant Scopetto in its marketing department.  As part of that employment Scopetto executed several Non-Compete/Non-Solicitation Agreements.  Eventually, Scopetto sought employment with Technomedia’s competitor.  She was then suspended and eventually terminated.  During this period she sent an email with the subject line “Morgan Scopetto New Contact Info.”  It was addressed to “friends and colleagues” and informed them 1) she was accepting a new position, 2) that they should update their contact information for her, 3) of the competitor’s website, 4) a brief description of the competitor, 5) a brief excerpt of the competitor, 6) a brief description of the competitor’s services, and 7) and that she looked forward to hearing from them soon.

The Court was therefore tasked with deciding whether this email violated the Non-Solicitation Agreement (Technomedia’s position), or, whether this was a typical departure email to friends and family (Scopetto’s position).  The Court walked through the analysis in terms of a preliminary injunction – 1) likelihood of success on the merits, 2) appearance irreparable harm, 3) balance of hardships, and 4) the public interest.  In this case, the Court held that the letter violated the Non-Solicitation Agreement.  In a wider sense, the case stands as a cautionary tale for departure emails in the context of the employment agreements.  Due consideration should be given when drafting one.