Landmark Ventures v. Wave Systems

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Contracts

New York Law Journal

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Judge Paul Crotty

Landmark Ventures' agreement to provide consulting services to Safend Inc. included an "anti-poaching" clause barring Safend from hiring or offering employment to its workers for two years after the agreement expired. Landmark sought at least $5 million for Safend's alleged breach of the provision by meeting, conversing and communicating with ex-employee Gallucci—whose access to Landmark's trade secrets required a separate confidentiality agreement. District court dismissed Landmark's amended complaint. It did not allege that any interaction between Gallucci and Safend breached the agrement. Nothing in the compact's plain language supported the broad reading, urged by Landmark, that the anti-poaching clause was intended to prevent Safend from engaging the services of its partners or employees "in any business capacity, whether as an employee, consultant, independent contractor or otherwise." Landmark's amended complaint did not allege that Safend and Gallucci had any meetings or communications about "business matters" that breached the anti-poaching clause. Further, Landmark did not allege Safend tried to hire or employ Gallucci while he was employed by Landmark.

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