Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Document Technologies, LLC v. Hess

United States District Court, District of Columbia

December 19, 2019

DOCUMENT TECHNOLOGIES, LLC Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID HESS Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROYCE C. LAMBERTH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Document Technologies, LLC ("DTI") has filed an application with this Court for a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") against defendant David Hess. ECF No. 7. Mr. Hess opposes the TRO application. ECF No. 10. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny DTI's request for a TRO.

         BACKGROUND

         DTI is a company that provides on-site services to law firms. These services include procurement of personnel, procurement of equipment, technology solutions, scanning/printing/copying, mailing/shipping/faxing, supply management, facilities management, etc. Mr. Hess began working for DTI in June of 2015 as a Site Manager and was promoted to Senior Operations Manager in October of 2017. His promotion made him second-in-command for DTI's Mid-Atlantic Region, which includes operations in the D.C., Baltimore, and Northern Virginia areas ("DMV area"). His responsibilities included servicing and growing client accounts, fostering relationships with potential new clients, managing approximately 115 DTI employees, training DTI employees, and assisting James Ferguson (DTI's Regional Director of Operations for the Mid-Atlantic Region) with all aspects of regional operations. All of the accounts that Mr. Hess oversaw were law firms or other entities in the legal industry in the DMV area. During his employment with DTI, he had access to DTI's confidential and proprietary information.

         On April 25, 2018, Mr. Hess signed an Employment, Confidential Information, Invention Assignment, and Arbitration Agreement ("Agreement"). This Agreement included a non- compete clause, which states:

NON-COMPETITION. I recognize and acknowledge that by virtue of accepting employment hereunder, I will acquire valuable knowledge, enhance my professional skills and experience, and learn proprietary trade secrets and Confidential Information of the Company and its customers. In consideration of the foregoing and this agreement, I agree that for a period of twelve (12) months immediately following the termination of my employment with the Company for any reason, I will not compete against the Company or any subsidiary or affiliate to which I provided services during the course of my employment with the Company, or engage in employment with or provide independent contractor or consulting services for any person, corporation, firm or other entity which provides any service or services which are the same or similar to the service or services offered by the Company or any subsidiary or affiliate to which I provided services during the course of my employment with the Company, within the relevant territories. I agree to the reasonableness of the restraint imposed under this paragraph.

         The Agreement also contained a non-solicitation clause, which states:

NON-SOLICITATION OF CUSTOMERS. I acknowledge and agree that the identity of the Company's customers and specifics related thereto constitute Confidential Information of the Company, and that my sale or unauthorized use or disclosure of any such Confidential Information would constitute unfair competition. Accordingly, I agree that for a period of twelve (12) months immediately following the termination of my employment relationship with the Company for any reason, I shall not, directly or indirectly, either on behalf of . myself or for any other person, corporation, firm, company or other business entity,' do any of the following acts: (a) solicit, serve or cater to any of the Company's customers whom I solicited, served or catered to on behalf of the Company or with whom I became acquainted during the course of my employment with the Company; (b) divert or attempt to divert any of the Company's customers or any of the business or patronage of such customers; or (c) call upon, influence or attempt to influence any of the Company's customers to transfer their business or patronage from the Company to me or to any other person, corporation, firm, company or business entity engaged in a business similar to the Company's business.

         The Agreement also contained a confidential information clause, which states:

CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. I agree at all times during the term of my employment and thereafter, to hold in strictest confidence, and not to use or disclose to any person, firm or corporation, except for the direct benefit of the Company, any Confidential Information of the Company or any of its customers. I understand that "Confidential Information" means any information of the Company, its vendors or its customers including but not limited to any proprietary information, technical data, trade secrets or know-how, information relating to research, product plans, products, services, customer lists, customers, markets, software, developments, inventions, processes, formulas, technology, designs, drawings, engineering, hardware configuration, marketing or finances, or other business information in any form including but not limited to electronic, oral, visual, or hard copy. I further understand that Confidential Information does not include any of the foregoing information or items that are publicly known and generally available through no wrongful act of mine or of others who were under confidentiality obligations as to the item(s) or information involved.

         Mr. Hess claims that he expressed concern to Mr. Ferguson about suddenly being asked to sign the Agreement three years into his employment with DTI. Mr. Ferguson told Mr. Hess that he would have to sign the Agreement if he wanted to continue working at DTI. Mr. Hess claims that Mr. Ferguson assured him that DTI would not actually enforce the Agreement against him, at which point Mr. Hess agreed to sign the document.

         On September 16, 2019, Mr. Hess submitted his letter of resignation (effective September 27, 2019) to Mr. Ferguson. He indicated that he would be taking a new job at Forrest Solutions, which is a competitor of DTI. Mr. Hess told Mr. Ferguson that Forrest Solutions has a focus outside the legal community and said that he would be taking over the southeast region down to Florida. The parties dispute whether Mr. Hess misled or intended to mislead Mr. Ferguson about the nature of his new job during this conversation.

         In his new position at Forrest Solutions, Mr. Hess has worked with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.'s Washington, D.C. office ("Ogletree"). DTI claims that it has previously made efforts to perform staffing for copy room services as well as front desk services for Ogletree, but it does not appear that Ogletree was ever DTI's customer.[1] DTI believes Mr. Hess's work with Ogletree violates the Agreement, and it sent cease & desist letters to both Mr. Hess and Forrest Solutions. DTI is broadly concerned about Mr. Hess's employment with Forrest Solutions, claiming that he should not be permitted to do this work, particularly in the DMV area. DTI has also raised concerns about Mr. Hess's knowledge of DTI's confidential and proprietary information.

         On October 29, 2019 DTI filed a Complaint against Mr. Hess. ECF No. 1. On November 26, 2019, DTI filed its TRO application.[2] Later that same day, Mr. Hess agreed during a telephone conference with the plaintiff and the Court that he would not enter the Ogletree premises nor serve as Forrest Solutions' representative to Ogletree during the pendency of this ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.