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RECORDS CENTER v. COMPREHENSIVE MANAGEMENT (05/08/87)

filed: May 8, 1987.

RECORDS CENTER, INC.
v.
COMPREHENSIVE MANAGEMENT, INC., JANET HIMMELREICH, DOUGLAS WASHBURN, AND WILLIS BANNON, JR., APPELLANTS



APPEAL FROM THE ORDERS ENTERED MAY 28, 1986 AND JUNE 16, 1986 IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF DELAWARE COUNTY, CIVIL NO. 86-7500.

COUNSEL

Rocco P. Imperatrice, III, Media, for appellants.

Thomas Martin, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Rowley, and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Cirillo

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 81]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County granting a preliminary injunction and from an order refusing to dissolve the injunction.

Respondent/appellants, Himmelreich, Washburn, and Bannon, are each ex-employees of plaintiff/appellee, Records Center, Inc. Records Center is a Pennsylvania corporation which provides management consulting services and computerized billing and bookkeeping services to physicians and other health care professionals. Himmelreich began her employment with Records Center in July of 1979. At that time she executed a restrictive covenant, preventing her from competing with the company's clients in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania for twelve months after termination of her employment.

On March 24, 1981 and March 7, 1984, she signed substantially similar agreements. The 1984 agreement extended the area of non-competition to Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Delaware. There was no change in her employment status at that time. Records Center hired Washburn as an hourly employee in November of 1984. In May of 1985, he was promoted to consultant and in connection with his promotion he executed a restrictive covenant prohibiting him from competing with the company's customers in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Bannon executed no such agreement during his employment with the company. Himmelreich, Bannon and Washburn

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 82]

    later resigned from Records Center and formed respondent/appellant, Comprehensive Management, Inc. Comprehensive began operating in May of 1986 and immediately procured two of Record Center's clients. Record Center filed the instant proceedings seeking a preliminary injunction to enforce the restrictive covenants executed by Himmelreich and Washburn. On May 28, 1986, the hearing court granted this request and included Bannon and Comprehensive within the scope of its order. The court's order restrained the respondents from competing for Records Center's existing clients in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire. On June 4, 1986, the respondents requested that the court dissolve the injunction. The court denied this request on June 17 and on June 24 the respondents appealed that denial to this Court.

Appellants present three issues for our review: 1) whether the preliminary injunction is overbroad; 2) whether the restrictive covenants are valid; and 3) whether Records Center has an adequate remedy at law.

The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo by restoring it to the last peaceable status which preceeded the alleged wrongful conduct. Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity v. University of Pennsylvania, 318 Pa. Super. 293, 301, 464 A.2d 1349, 1354 (1983). The plaintiff's right to the relief sought must also be clear. Independent State Store Union v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Bd., 495 Pa. 145, 157, 432 A.2d 1375, 1381 (1981).

The trial court's injunction in the instant matter restricted Himmelreich, Washburn, Bannon, and Comprehensive Management, Inc. from competing with Records Center for twelve months. However, only Himmelreich and Washburn executed restrictive covenants with Records Center. Bannon and Comprehensive were restrained from competition with the plaintiff based only on their association with Himmelreich and Washburn. This order is overbroad. It ...


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