Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, No. 7 Equity Docket, 1965, in case of Beneficial Finance Co. of Lebanon v. Leon W. Becker.
Thomas A. Ehrgood, for appellant.
L. E. Meyer, with him Meyer, Brubaker & Whitman, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.
This is an appeal from a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County which dismissed exceptions and made absolute a decree nisi dated December 14, 1965, wherein Leon W. Becker (Becker) was enjoined until August 27, 1966, "from engaging in any way, directly or indirectly, in any business competitive" with Beneficial Finance Co. of Lebanon (Beneficial). The decree further enjoined Becker until August 27, 1968 "from disclosing to any person or business competitor the names of past, present and prospective borrowers of Beneficial Finance Co. of Lebanon. Nor shall he furnish any other person, company, or
competitor or retain and use any papers or information" concerning past, present or prospective borrowers of Beneficial or "from making any public announcement or statement of any kind that he was formerly connected" with Beneficial.*fn1
Becker started to work for Beneficial Finance Co. of Easton, an affiliated corporation of Beneficial, in October 1953. On October 10, 1953, Becker signed a contract of employment with Beneficial Finance Co. of Easton which was accepted by Beneficial Management Corporation on October 19, 1953. After gaining considerable training and experience, Becker became manager of Beneficial's office from March 4, 1959 until August 27, 1965, at which time he resigned from his position. Becker then commenced to work for Andrews Consumers Discount Co., a competitor of Beneficial, in Lebanon on September 1, 1965. Beneficial filed this suit in equity on September 22, 1965.
The terms of the decree of December 14, 1965, were based upon the restrictive covenant provisions of the employment contract: "10. That unless I [Becker] am specially instructed to disclose the facts, in which event I will comply strictly with the instructions, I will keep secret from every person the names of past, present, and prospective borrowers, security-holders, and all other business customers and associates of the Employer [Beneficial]; together with all knowledge which I may at any time acquire during my employment as to such subjects and as to any loans, earnings, finances, and all other concerns of the Employer.
"11. That I will not furnish to any other person or retain and use any papers or information whatever concerning any of the subjects and matters referred to in paragraph 10; that I will not engage or participate
in any effort or act to induce any of the borrowers, security-holders, customers, associates, or employees of the Employer to take any step which ...