Submitted: September 8, 2014.
For NanoMech, Inc., Plaintiff - Appellant: Elizabeth C. Carver, Attorney, Jonathan Barton Potts, Litigation Counsel, BRYAN & CAVE, Saint Louis, MO; William Asa Hutchinson, III, THE ASA HUTCHINGON LAW GROUP, PLC, Rogers, AR.
For Arunya Suresh, Defendant - Appellee: Bryce G. Crawford, Bryan Steve Vernetti, THE WILLIAMS LAW GROUP, Rogers, AR.
Before BYE, COLLOTON, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
NanoMech, Inc. sued a former employee, Arunya Suresh, for breach of her noncompete agreement. The district court granted judgment on the pleadings for Suresh, ruling that the noncompete agreement was unenforceable under Arkansas law. NanoMech appeals, and we affirm.
NanoMech, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Arkansas, researches and develops nanotechnologies. The company specializes in creating nanotechnology products in the areas of nano-machining, manufacturing, lubrication, energy, biomedical coatings, and strategic military applications.
Before NanoMech hired Suresh, she signed a non-disclosure agreement in which she agreed to protect NanoMech's interest in any information that was disclosed to her for the purpose of evaluating a potential employment relationship. NanoMech then hired Suresh in March 2010. As a condition of her employment, Suresh signed an employment agreement, which by its terms is governed by Arkansas law. The agreement contains the following noncompete provision:
COVENANT NOT TO COMPETE: The Employee agrees that during the term of this Agreement, and for two (2) years following termination of this Agreement by the Company, with or without cause; or, for a period of two (2) years following a termination of this Agreement by the Employee, the Employee will not directly or indirectly enter into, be employed by or consult in any business which competes with the Company.
R. Doc. 12, Ex. A, at 3.
During her employment with NanoMech, Suresh participated in projects involving nano-integrated materials and the manufacturing processes for nanoparticle-based products. Among other things, Suresh researched and developed NanoMech's multi-component lubrication ...