December 22, 2004
Cases—Interpretation—Contra preferentem bites employer
An ambiguous employee noncompete clause must be construed against the drafter, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, applying Delaware law. The rule isn't surprising, but the outcome is odd. The former employer found itself in the absurd position where the noncompete would apply if the employee were fired, but not where the employee left to take a job with a competitor. Since the employee here left voluntarily to join a competitor, the noncompete did not apply. Commerce Nat'l Ins. Servs. v. Buchler, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 24991 (6th Cir. Dec. 6, 2004).
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