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Leedom Management Group, Inc. and Paymaxx Pro, LLC v. Susan Perlmutter and Sigma Payment

December 21, 2011



This matter comes before the Court pursuant to Plaintiffs' Noticed Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order Ex Parte Against Defendant Perlmutter and Order to Show Cause why a Preliminary Injunction Should not Issue (Doc. # 26), which was filed on December 20, 2011. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants the Motion for Temporary Restraining Order as follows.

I. Discussion

On the basis of Plaintiffs' Complaint (Doc. # 1), Motion (Doc. # 26) and the Affidavit of Christopher M. Leedom (Doc. # 26-3) this Court finds that Plaintiffs met their initial burden for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order against Perlmutter, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 and Local Rule 4.05, M.D. Fla., as follows:

1. The Court finds a reasonable likelihood that Plaintiffs will succeed on the merits of their claims against Perlmutter, including their claims that Perlmutter misappropriated trade secrets, breached her contract, and tortiously interfered with a business relationship, among other claims. Christopher Leedom's affidavit contains a detailed description of facts establishing that Perlmutter has utilized Plaintiffs' confidential information, including customer lists, and is directly competing with Plaintiffs using Plaintiffs' own proprietary information. (Doc. # 26-3). Specifically, Leedom states, "Perlmutter founded her own companies, Perlwood Holdings and Pearl Payments, which directly compete with Leedom." Id. at ¶ 22. Leedom also indicates that Perlmutter directed Plaintiffs' employees (Vanessa Woods and Justin Duncan) to operate her competing companies. Id. Furthermore, Leedom avers that Perlmutter has solicited Plaintiffs' clients. Id. at ¶¶ 31-36.

2. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiffs demonstrated a meaningful risk of irreparable harm in the absence of a TRO. The injuries Plaintiffs face include (1) loss of goodwill; (2) damage to Plaintiffs' reputation; and (3) use by Perlmutter of Plaintiffs' confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information against Plaintiffs' interest. As stated in Int'l Hair & Beauty Sys., LLC v. Simply Organic, Case No. 8:11-cv- 1883-T-30AEP, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127336, at *27 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 26, 2011), "the loss of customers and good will is an irreparable injury and is difficult to measure" and "irreparable harm may be suffered if [Defendant] continues to solicit customers from Plaintiffs' customer list."

3. The public interest will be served by the issuance of a TRO. Specifically, a TRO will serve the public interest by preserving faith in the contractual agreements that businesses routinely make with their employees, by upholding the terms of enforceable contracts, and by protecting trade secrets, such as customer lists, from unlawful use and disclosure.

4. Plaintiffs' counsel, Debra Dawn, Esq. filed a declaration stating that she provided notice of the Motion for Temporary Restraining Order to Perlmutter prior to filing the Motion. (Doc. # 26-2).

II. TRO Duration

Accordingly, this Court grants Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. The Temporary Restraining Order is effective once adequate security has been provided to the Court as specified below, and will remain in effect through and including January 5, 2012, at 5:00 p.m. Any motions for an enlargement of the TRO must demonstrate good cause and must be filed in accordance with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(b)(2).

III. Security

The Court determines that the security required of Plaintiffs in connection with the issuance of this Temporary Restraining Order is $10,000.00. The same amount was determined to constitute a reasonable security against the risk of wrongful restraint on similar facts in International Hair & Beauty Systems v. Simply Organic, Inc., Case No. 8:11-cv-1883-T-30AEP, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127374 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 3, 2011).

This Order shall not take effect until Plaintiffs tender to the Clerk of the Court $10,000.00. Bond, cash and certified bank checks are accepted in the Clerk's office; however, credit cards are not accepted.

IV. Prohibited Business Activities

It is hereby ordered that Perlmutter, and all other persons or entities in active concert or participation with her who receive actual notice of this Order by personal service or otherwise, whether acting directly or indirectly, are hereby enjoined from, or assisting others in, competing with Plaintiffs within 50 miles of any place Plaintiffs conduct business, ...

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