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Energy Conglomerate Brings Holland & Knight into Non-Compete Dispute

Back in July, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida – Tampa Division denied a preliminary injunction in a non-compete dispute involving the energy transportation industry.  The movant, energy hauling conglomerate QCER, alleged that a former sub-hauler had breached a non-compete agreement.    The Court denied the request for an injunction, holding that (1) QCER had failed to establish a legitimate business interest in confidential information, customer relationships or anything else and (2) QCER had failed to establish irreparable harm.

QCER then filed a motion seeking reconsideration.  In part, QCER argued that the court had erred by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing and that it was entitled to an evidentiary hearing under Eleventh Circuit law, specifically under Moon v. Med. Tech. Associates, Inc., 577 F. App’x 934 (11th Cir. 2014).

As it turns out, Pollard was both trial and appellate counsel for Moon, the prevailing appellant, in that important 11th Circuit case.  In opposing QCER’s motion for reconsideration, Pollard argued that QCER was misstating Moon’s holding:  Moon doesn’t mean there’s always an evidentiary hearing.  Instead, it means that the court cannot issue a preliminary injunction absent an evidentiary hearing where the facts are hotly contested.  But the court is well within the law to deny a preliminary injunction without a hearing, particularly where it is clear that the movant could never meet the heavy burden necessary to obtain injunctive relief.

And that was the case here:  The Court summarily denied QCER’s request for reconsideration. Even assuming QCER’s factual allegations were true, QCER could not establish irreparable harm.  That alone was dispositive.  Beyond that, the court held that QCER was using a motion for reconsideration in an attempt to relitigate issue and add new evidence to the record.  Basically, QCER got their shot and they lost.  There is no second bite at the apple.

Following the court’s ruling denying reconsideration, QCER retained Holland & Knight to take over the case.

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Pollard PLLC is a litigation boutique based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and focused on competition law.  Its attorneys have extensive experience litigating non-compete, trade secret, trademark and antitrust matters. For more information call 954-332-2380. 

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