Tennessee Court of Appeals Weighs in on Validity of Non-Compete Agreement for a Sales Professional


The Wall Street Journal recently published an article regarding the rise in litigation over non-compete agreements. The article reports that litigation over non-competes has risen 60% in the last decade. While non-compete litigation may be on the rise, the courts have not necessarily clarified non-compete law. I have written blog posts about the general enforceability of non-compete agreements in Tennessee, applicability of non-compete agreements to independent contractors and non-compete agreements for healthcare professionals. In each instance, the enforceability of the non-compete agreement almost always depends on the unique circumstances of each case. Because non-compete cases are highly fact-driven, I was excited to see a recent opinion from the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Carson Combs v. Brick Acquisition Company, E2012-02696-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App., Oct. 30, 2013), which addresses one of the most common type of non-compete agreements – those applicable to salespersons. In Combs v. Brick Acquisition Company, the dispute began […]

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Nashville Local Counsel


The business litigation lawyers at Thomspon Burton PLLC regularly assist out-of-state attorneys, companies and individuals involved in litigation in the Nashville area and throughout the state. The firm has been called on by attorneys across the country to serve as local counsel. The lawyers at Thompson Burton are familiar with the local courts and judges and have succeeded in courtrooms throughout the state of Tennessee. The Thompson Burton business litigation team handles a wide variety of business-related disputes from complex commercial litigation to construction litigation, professional liability defense to contract disputes, and entertainment litigation to employment litigation. Their practice includes handling trials and appeals in state and federal court, in addition to alternative dispute resolution forums, such as mediation and arbitration. The firm has represented clients in a wide range of litigation matters, including: Contract Disputes & Business Litigation Disputes among Business Owners Multi Level Marketing (MLM)/Direct Sales Litigation Trade Secret & Non-Compete Disputes Franchising […]

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Piercing the Corporate Veil – Can You Personally Be on the Hook for Your Business’s Liabilities?


If you are a small business owner, chances are you operate your business through a separate entity, such as the popular limited liability company. Indeed, the protection of limited liability is one of the main reasons business owners go to the trouble of forming and maintaining a separate entity. A lawsuit in Nashville that made local business news headlines last month, D’Affari Properties, LLC vs. Martin Heflin et. al., Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tennessee, No 13-1118-I, involves a judgment creditor’s attempt to pierce the veil of an LLC to hold the members personally liable for the judgment. This likely caused many business owners to contemplate the prospect of being personally liable for business judgments, debts or other obligations. Business owners who operate through a legal business entity are generally protected from personal liability for company debts, business decisions or actions of the company. In Tennessee, there is a presumption that a […]

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Enforcing Out of State Judgments in Tennessee


The goal of a lawsuit is usually to win and obtain a money judgment against the other party. Unfortunately, a judgment is nothing more than a piece of paper. A judgment creditor does not get “paid” unless and until the judgment is enforced and the debt collected. What happens when the judgment debtor is located in another state or re-locates to another state without paying the judgment? What happens when all of the judgment debtor’s assets are located in another state? Is a judgment obtained out-of-state enforceable in Tennessee? No, a judgment obtained out-of-state is not enforceable in Tennessee, unless the out-of-state judgment is properly domesticated in a Tennessee court. Fortunately, judgments obtained in other states are ordinarily entitled to “full, faith and credit” in Tennessee. That is, Tennessee courts are required by Art. IV § 1 of the Constitution of the United States to give full faith and credit to judgments of other […]

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Health Care Non-Compete Agreements


Introduction As a general rule, courts in Tennessee will enforce non-compete agreements where the restrictions are found to be reasonable. As outlined in my recent blog post, there are a number of factors to consider when determining the reasonableness and enforceability of a non-compete agreement. However, non-compete agreements for health care professionals implicate certain public policy concerns absent in other industries. Non-compete agreements for physicians and other health care professionals pose the unique issue of balancing the interests of patients against a physician’s practice or employer. On one hand, a patient’s freedom to seek treatment with the physician of her choosing and similar ethical concerns lean in favor of finding health care non-compete agreements unenforceable. On the other hand, the sanctity of contract law and the desire to protect a medical practice’s business interests from departing employees support the enforcement of such provisions. The American Medical Association, in its Code of Medical […]

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