Armenio v. Active Web Group
Justice Robert J. Muller
Armenio was previously employed by W. Marketing Inc. (WMI) located in Suffolk County, and signed a confidentiality agreement. She left WMI and began working for National Electric Wholesale Providers (NEWP) located in Warren County. NEWP sold some of the same products as WMI, but Armenio noted the products were also available from other sources nationwide. Armenio sued defendants, including WMI, seeking to set aside the agreement as overbroad and unreasonable. Defendants sought to change venue to Suffolk, but Armenio claimed venue on a party's residence was proper under CPLR 503(a). Defendants filed a separate suit in Suffolk seeking to enforce the agreement. The parties stipulated to consolidation of the actions, and the court noted upon consolidation of two actions in different counties, venue was placed in the county having jurisdiction over the action first commenced absent "special circumstances." It found the action arose in Suffolk, and Armenio was a resident of Suffolk before moving to Warren County in 2012. These considerations combined with the presence of possibly two inconvenienced non-party witnesses, created the requisite special circumstances warranting transfer of the consolidation actions to Suffolk.