Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Montgomery County at No. 04791-87.
Barbara L. Farley, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Barry M. Miller, Norristown, for appellee.
Tamilia, Popovich and Cercone, JJ.
[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 289]
This is an appeal from the Order entered April 16, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, which dissolved appellant's temporary restraining order and
[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 290]
dismissed his petition for a preliminary injunction. Appellant alleges the lower court erred in declaring that the restrictive employment covenant was invalid, and, consequently, it erred in denying the Motion for Preliminary Injunction. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand the case for determination of the remaining issue, i.e., whether the restrictive covenant is reasonably limited in time and territory.
On November 6, 1972, Modern Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company (Modern) hired William Farrer to work as a route salesman. For approximately one month, Farrer trained as a probationary employee under the supervision of an experienced route salesman on company Route Thirty-Six. During this probation period, Farrer worked without an employment contract. Under Modern's training program, Farrer was taught how to handle a particular route but was not given any responsibility for the route until Modern was satisfied with his performance. Once Modern became confident in Farrer's ability, he was offered full-time employment. In order to assume full-time status, Farrer was required to sign an employment contract. Included in the employment contract was the following restrictive covenant:
As an inducement to the execution of this agreement, and to any renewal or continuation thereof, it is agreed that in the event Employee shall leave the said employment, or be discharged by Employer, during, or at the expiration of this agreement, or any renewal or extension thereof, the said Employee agrees that he shall not, or will not, directly or indirectly, for the space of one year after ceasing in any manner to be in the employ of the Employer, engage in the laundry business in any form or manner on his own account, or as agent, employee, or in any other capacity, for any other person, firm, company, or corporation, in the route or routes, territory or territories assigned to, covered, or served by him, or within three full squares of any point in or on said territory; and that he will not, directly or indirectly, for himself on his own
[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 291]
account, or as driver, canvasser, or in any other capacity, for any other person, persons, firm, company or corporation, within the route or routes, territory or territories assigned to, covered, or served by him, or within three squares of any point in or on said route or routes, territory or territories, solicit for or do any laundry work, or furnish any laundry service whatsoever, to any customer or customers served by said Employer, whether said customer or customers originally belonged to the Employer or were secured by the Employee, or through his efforts, while in the employ of the Employer.
Once the contract was signed, Farrer assumed complete responsibility for Route Thirty-Six. Farrer continued to service Route Thirty-Six for Modern until January 30, 1987, at which time he notified the company that ...