Fillpoint, LLC v. Maas, WL 3631266 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012)

Michael Maas sold his stock in Crave Entertainment Group, Inc. to Handleman Company and signed a stock purchase agreement that contained a three-year covenant not to compete. Maas signed a separate employment agreement with Crave that contained a one-year covenant not to compete, which would become operative when Maas’s employment with Crave ended. Maas resigned from Crave three years after the acquisition and, approximately six months later, began working for a competitor of Crave. Fillpoint, which had acquired Crave from Handleman, sued Maas for breach of the non-compete covenant contained in the employment agreement and also sued Maas’s new employer for interference with contract. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for nonsuit, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the post-employment non-compete/non-solicitation covenants were void and unenforceable under California law because they “targeted an employee’s fundamental right to pursue his or her profession.”