The Minnesota Court of Appeals issued a decision on September 7, 2021 reversing a trial court order that granted a temporary injunction in a non-compete case handled by TMB attorneys Nicholas Sperling, Anna Koch, and V. John Ella. In Pilot Air Freight, LLC v. Trenberth, No. A21-0058, the Court of Appeals found that the lower court had not properly followed the rule governing injunctions — Rule 65 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure — because it did not require a bond or other security, or make a finding that a bond was unnecessary, and because the order lacked specificity, was inconsistent, and improperly directed the parties to rely on the language of the underlying employment agreement to understand the restrictions being imposed.
Appellate decisions reviewing a temporary injunction are fairly rare because the injunction often expires before the case can be heard by the appellate court. Here, the temporary injunction expired about a month before the decision was issued, but the Court of Appeals held that the propriety of the injunction was not moot because the restricted employee sought recovery for damages from what he claimed was an improvidently issued order. The decision provides helpful guidance for litigants in this area and emphasizes the importance of district courts providing clear guidance and a sound rationale for granting the extraordinary relief of an injunction to enforce non-compete agreements. Mr. Sperling appeared at oral argument in this matter and Ms. Koch and Mr. Ella assisted with briefing. Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. is a Minneapolis business law firm that routinely handles non-compete disputes in state and federal courts in Minnesota.