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ROBINSON ELECTRONIC SUPERVISORY CO. v. JOHNSON (09/29/59)

September 29, 1959

ROBINSON ELECTRONIC SUPERVISORY CO., INC.
v.
JOHNSON, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 227, 228 and 229, Jan. T., 1959, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1959, No. 818, in case of Robinson Electronic Supervisory Co., Inc. v. Charles S. Johnson, Sr. et al. Decree affirmed. Equity. Before GUERIN and ALEXANDER, JJ. Preliminary decree entered granting plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, opinion by ALEXANDER, J. Defendants appealed.

COUNSEL

Francis E. Marshall, with him Davis, Marshall & Crumlish, for appellants.

Franklin Poul, with him Abraham L. Freedman, Louis J. Goffman, and Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 397 Pa. Page 269]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Defendants appeal from a preliminary decree which restrained them from certain business activities in competition with plaintiff for a period of one year from the date of severance of employment of defendants Johnson with plaintiff, or in the alternative, until certain contracts of prospective customers of plaintiff had expired and new contracts had been entered into by such prospective customers, whichever time period proved to be the shorter.

We quote with approval the following excerpts from the comprehensive opinion of the Chancellor, Judge ALEXANDER:

"Plaintiff brought this action in equity against Charles S. Johnson, Sr. and Charles S. Johnson, Jr., former employees of plaintiff, and Edward J. Lavino, II, who has considered forming a business organization with defendants Johnson subsequent to their severance of employment with plaintiff corporation on March 13, 1959. In this matter, defendant Lavino is in the position of a businessman and business financier. The business which [Lavino] has considered forming with defendants Johnson would be in direct competition with plaintiff.

[ 397 Pa. Page 270]

"Plaintiff operates a central station alarm service, a security service for banking and business establishments. Various electronic security devices are installed on the premises of the customer and connected to the central station, or 'nerve center' of the system, which is manned and maintained by plaintiff. ... The service provides protective security for fire, burglary and other intrusions of customers' premises. ...

"The significant business function of defendants Johnson [during their employment tenure with plaintiff] was to gather, prepare and analyze all necessary information about customers' business establishments in order to plan the protection of customers' premises by the central alarm service and to prepare and submit bids to customers for this service. Once bids were accepted, they supervised its installation and maintenance.

"The record establishes that defendants Johnson, through their employment relationship with plaintiff, became familiar with the special problems and details of many potential customers' business establishments in the Philadelphia area. They were specifically hired for this purpose. The information which had been compiled by Mr. Johnson, Sr. and through his direction was the sole basis of ...


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