The Changing Future of Non-Compete Agreements in Washington, Part 2

We previously wrote about House Bills 2406 and 2931, which would significantly change the use of non-compete agreements in Washington. At the end of the session, both bills went to the House “X” file, which made it likely that neither would be passed this session. At the beginning of the Special Session both bills were reintroduced. However, the House adjourned the special session without taking further action.

In related news, on March 16, 2016, Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) filed suit against Arthur Valdez, a former executive, in King County Superior Court. The action seeks injunctive relief to prevent Mr. Valdez from taking an executive position at Target Corporation (“Target”). Amazon is seeking to enforce the Confidentiality, Noncompetition and Invention Assignment Agreement signed by Mr. Valdez. During Mr. Valdez’s employment by Amazon, it is alleged that he worked in supply chain operations in a variety of positions, most recently as Vice President of Operations North America. Target recruited Mr. Valdez to serve as its Executive Vice President, Chief Supply Chain and Logistics Officer. Amazon alleges that Mr. Valdez’s new role at Target violates his non-compete agreement, breaches his duties of confidentiality and loyalty to Amazon and violate statutory restrictions on the misappropriation of trade secrets.This case will provide a very visible and public test of the enforceability of non-compete agreements in Washington State.

If you have questions about whether your non-compete agreements are enforceable or wish to discuss including them as part of your hiring documents, please contact Holmquist & Gardiner, PLLC.

This article is intended to inform the reader of general legal principles applicable to the subject area. It is not intended to provide legal advice regarding specific problems or circumstances readers should consult with competent counsel with regard to specific situations.