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Non-compete in auto sales

Boston, MA |

if a non-compete is broken, would it be a criminal or a civil charge if cound guilty? suppose a car was bought for 10,000.00 and sold for $20,000.00 and it was found out the non compete was broken, how does that work? thank you

Attorney Answers 4


Unfortunately, the facts in your question are somewhat confusing. I am unsure whether you are speaking of a current or former employee, competitor, or otherwise. Non-compete agreements in the employment context depend on what you negotiated with the employee and whether it comports to Massachusetts law.

Enforcement of a non-compete clause would not be a criminal offense. I would urge you to discuss this issue with counsel privately if you are considering legal action; these public forums are good for general information but could be used as evidence in a civil proceeding if the facts presented allow one to identify you or the other party.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney admitted to practice in your jurisdiction.

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Non-Compete agreements are contractual. If the non-compete provisions of the contract are violated that is a civil, not a criminal matter. As for the hypothetical sale you just mentioned, if the employee sold the car in violation of the non-compete clause, the former employer may be able to assert a damages claim for the profits made (in this case $10,000) and also seek injunctive relief to prohibit further competition.

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If the non-competition clause in an employment contract was violated, that is a civil complaint. The damages could include the profits obtained as a result of the violation (although that is not the only potential sanction). If the non-compete was the product of a court order or judgment in a prior legal action, then there could be a civil or criminal contempt for violation of the order, which would be brought forward in the Court where the original judgment or order was issued (or, if in a different state, in the appropriate Court here in Massachusetts).

The threshold question is whether the non-compete was violated, and whether there is a good case to proceed with. You should talk to a lawyer and show him or her a copy of the employment contract, court judgment, or court order with the non-compete clause to see if it is even enforceable in the first instance.

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Atty Karpf has helped in the best way. Thank you sir. Excellent help.


A non-compete is contractual and violation is a civil matter, not criminal. However, non-competes must meet certain requirements to be enforceable (for instance they need to be enforceable in time, scope and geography). A lawyer could review the non-compete and give an opinion on its enforceability.

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