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Employee goes to work for competitor – despite contract

Michael Holton was the president of a cancer radiation services company. When he took his job, he signed an agreement saying that if he left, he wouldn’t disclose any confidential information or trade secrets to a competitor for at least a year.

After the company merged with another business, Holton was terminated. A month later he went to work for a competing firm. His original company went to court, saying he shouldn’t be allowed to work for the competitor.

The original company wasn’t able to prove that Holton had divulged any specific confidential information or trade secrets. But it said it should win the case anyway, because Holton would “inevitably” disclose such information as part of working as an executive at the new company.

However, the Georgia Supreme Court sided with Holton. It said that Georgia already had a specific law about trade secrets, and as long as Holton didn’t clearly violate that law, his original employer couldn’t block his new job on the theory that he would “inevitably” spill some beans.

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