In First Impression Decision, Minnesota Federal Court Applies Advice-of-Counsel Defense to Tortious Interference Claim

Nilan Johnson Lewis PA

In a first-of-its-kind decision, NJL non-compete litigator Katie Connolly convinced a Minnesota federal court to apply a novel advice-of-counsel defense to an employer’s hiring of an individual with a non-compete agreement. The court in Fulton v. Honkamp Krueger Financial Services, Inc., Case No. 20-CV-1063 (PJS/DTS), 2020 WL 7041766 (D. Minn.), held the employer had not interfered with its new employee’s non-compete agreement because the employer had relied on outside counsel’s advice that the agreement was unenforceable. “The advice-of-counsel defense is a great tool for new employers to consider when determining whether to hire an individual who is subject to a questionable restrictive covenant agreement with a prior employer,” said Ms. Connolly, who argued the motion, with Joel O’Malley assisting on the briefing.



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