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Do I have a legal right to start and run a business in Clark County, Washington.

Battle Ground, WA |

former employer had me sign an no compete for 2 years in my buy out contract, it says that I can not open a business or loan my name to a business in Clark County, Wa. I consulted an attorney and he said that as long as we did not go after the former employers contractors and employees and we did not conduct any business with in 5 miles of the former employers business we would be ok. just double checking.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. I think you should take the non-compete agreement to a different attorney and have them read it and help determine if you will be okay or not. There are terms in some non-compete agreements that cause them to be unreasonable, however it is generally a further distance than 5 miles. I am not sure who you contacted, but I would not simply rely on that advice.


  2. I wish it were that easy. Non-compete agreements always raise a variety of issues and whether or not they are enforceable is dependent on the language in the agreement, the related industry, and the law of the jurisdiction. Make sure you get a second opinion from an attorney with experience drafting and enforcing such agreements. Your description of the terms does not match up well with your description of the attorney's advice, so a second opinion is merited.

    Business Advocate Law PLLC is not providing specific legal advice nor is a attorney-client relationship established by responding. The answer is provided as a service only to provide general guidance applicable to the issue presented.


  3. I agree with the prior answers. Each particular non-compete agreement will depend on the terms of the non-compete, i.e. there's no one size fits all answer to non-compete agreements. Generally, for a non-compete to be enforceable it must be "reasonable" in scope (geography and type of business) and duration. What is "reasonable" will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular non-compete.

    You should review the terms of your non-compete agreement with a business attorney with experience reviewing, drafting, and advising on non-compete agreements. Taking a few minutes to review the agreement with an attorney now could save you a ton of hassle down the road.


  4. Second opinion absolutely. Generally these things Re enforceable for a reasonable time. Within a reasonable distance. They are designed to protect your excompany's market. They can not totally disable your from your trade or profession. The price paid for your covenant not to compete will have an effect as well. Within reason you get what you pay for.


  5. Hi, I agree with Ms. Levy's advice that you should get a second opinion on your non-compete agreement. It should not cost much to have another lawyer to review your agreement and provide an opinion on what you can do and where you can do your new business. The other lawyers are correct in that your particular non-compete will be specific as to what you can and cannot do and where you can and cannot do what you want to do. Just because you signed a non-compete agreement does not necessarily mean that all the terms in it are binding. That is, courts treat non-competes with some extra care given they could potentially prevent someone from making a living if enforced verbatim. Scope (in terms of distance) and duration of time are 2 factors to take into consideration. Please consider taking your agreement to a business lawyer or an employment lawyer for a second opinion.

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