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Edwards Moving & Rigging, Inc. v. Jenkins

United States District Court, M.D. Florida

July 31, 2019

EDWARDS MOVING & RIGGING, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CASEY JENKINS, SIMS CRANE & EQUIPMENT CO., and SIMS HD, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Cliarlene Edwards Honeywell United States District Judge

         This cause becomes before the Court upon the Report & Recommendation filed by Magistrate Judge Sean P. Flynn on June 5, 2019 (the “R&R”). (Doc. 29). In the R&R, Magistrate Judge Flynn recommends that Plaintiff Edwards Moving & Rigging, Inc's (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Preliminary Injunction be granted-in-part and a bond hearing be held as necessary. Id. at 11.

         All parties were furnished copies of the R&R and were afforded the opportunity to file objections pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Plaintiff timely objected to the R&R (the “Objection”), (Doc. 30), to which Defendants Casey Jenkins, Sims Crane & Equipment Co., and Sims HD, LLC (collectively, “Defendants”) responded, (Doc. 34). Upon consideration of the R&R, the Objection, and upon this Court's independent examination of the file, it is determined that the R&R should be adopted and Plaintiff's Objection should be overruled.

         I. Background

         This case is a breach of contract and tortious interference action. (Doc. 1 ¶¶19-28). Plaintiff is in the business of transporting, moving, and lifting over-sized components and equipment. Id. at ¶10. Plaintiff performs heavy haul and rigging jobs across several industries, such as the power plant, construction, rail, and automotive industries. Id. In August of 2016, Plaintiff hired Defendant Casey Jenkins (“Jenkins”) as Regional Sales Manager. Id. at ¶12. Jenkins did not have experience in the heavy moving and rigging business prior to his hiring. Id. at ¶12. The position involved managing projects for existing customers, and Jenkins “participated in the pricing and bidding process for moving and rigging projects.” (Doc. 22-1 ¶¶7, 12). Jenkins had access to Plaintiff's customer contracts, equipment book, customer revenue information, and other confidential business information as part of his employment with Plaintiff. (Doc. 1 ¶12).

         Plaintiff and Jenkins entered into a Non-Competition, Non-Solicitation, and NonDisclosure Agreement (the “Agreement”) on August 29, 2016. (Doc. 1-1 at 4). Significantly, the non-competition covenant in the Agreement provides:

         A. Non-Competition.

         Employee agrees that while Employee is employed by Employer and during a period of two (2) years immediately following the termination of his employment with the Employer for any reason whatsoever, (the Term), he shall not, within Employer's market area, (the “Territory”), engage in any of the following activities:

(1) Directly or indirectly enter into the employ or render any service to or act in concert with any person, partnership, corporation or other entity engaged in rendering any service being conducted or rendered by Employer at the time of the termination; or
(2) Directly or indirectly engage in any such competitive business or render any such service on his own account; or
(3) Become interested in any such competitive business or service directly or indirectly as an individual, partner, member, director, officer, principal, agent, employee, or creditor.

Id. at 1.

         In April of 2019, Jenkins resigned from his position with Plaintiff and accepted a job with Defendant Sims Crane & Equipment Co. (“Sims Crane”). (Docs. 1 ¶15; 22-2 ¶¶7, 12). Sims Crane, apparently the largest Florida-based crane rental company in Florida, rents cranes and heavy equipment. Id. at ¶¶3-4; (Doc. 1 ¶16). Jenkins' position with Sims Crane involves “pricing and bidding crane rental services.” (Doc. 22-2 ¶7). Jenkins thus claims his knowledge of Plaintiff's pricing and bidding procedures is irrelevant to his new position. (Doc. 22-1 ¶7). Defendant Sims HD, LLC (“Sims HD”) and Sims Crane are affiliated, but separate, companies. (Doc. 22-2 ¶2). Sims HD and Sims Crane have “some, but not all, overlapping ownership.” Id. Like Plaintiff, Sims HD allegedly provides specialized rigging and machinery moving, such as installation, removal, and transportation of industrial machinery. Id. at ¶4. Sims HD is a competitor of Plaintiff. See (Docs. 1 ¶16; 22-2 ¶4).

         Plaintiff initiated this action on April 25, 2019, (Doc. 1), and filed its Motion for Preliminary Injunction (the “Motion”) shortly thereafter, through which Plaintiff seeks to enforce the Agreement's non-competition covenant, (Doc. 7 at 11). Specifically, Plaintiff moves for a preliminary injunction (1) enjoining Jenkins from working for any entity, including Sims Crane and Sims HD, that “renders services that [Plaintiff] renders in any market in which [Plaintiff] renders them”; and (2) enjoining Sims Crane and Sims HD from employing Jenkins during such two-year period. Id.

         Upon consideration of the Motion, the response in opposition, and the parties' oral arguments at the hearing on the Motion, Magistrate Judge Flynn issued the R&R. (Doc. 29). Magistrate Judge Flynn recommends that the Court: (1) enjoin Jenkins from working for Sims HD through and including April 17, 2021; (2) enjoin Sims HD from employing Jenkins through and including April 17, 2021; and (3) enjoin Jenkins from assisting Sims HD in the business of transporting, moving, and lifting oversized equipment and components, inclusive of the bidding or quoting process or providing logistical support, through and including April 17, 2021; provided, however, such enjoinment does not prohibit Jenkins from quoting or bidding Sims Crane's rental equipment to Sims HD or its customers or ...


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