The legal battle between former Total Quality Logistics (TQL) broker Jacob Patterson and the Cincinnati-based freight brokerage continues. Patterson, who left TQL in April 2021, is facing allegations from TQL that he violated his noncompete agreement twice in the past two years.
TQL filed a new lawsuit against Patterson on May 12 in Ohio’s Clermont County Court of Common Pleas. The suit claims that Patterson breached his noncompete agreement by establishing a freight brokerage called Hyperlux Logistics in January. Although Hyperlux is set to open for business in September, TQL argues that it directly competes with their operations and is seeking damages and injunctive relief.
Patterson’s brother, attorney Pete Patterson, is representing him in TQL’s lawsuits and his own suit against TQL. Pete Patterson argues that Hyperlux has not yet started conducting business operations and emphasizes that preparing to compete is not the same as actively competing.
The legal battle between Jacob Patterson and TQL began in May 2021 when TQL claimed that Patterson violated his noncompete by joining PBJ Express, an asset-based carrier in Missouri, as vice president of operations. Patterson had worked at TQL since 2007 and climbed the ranks to become a senior logistics account executive. However, he faced difficulties with work-life balance and even accepted a lower-earning position to reduce his workload. Eventually, Patterson left TQL to work for PBJ Express, which he believed was a non-competing company since it was a supplier for TQL.
TQL’s lawsuit against Patterson argues that his noncompete agreement prohibits him from working for any competing business for one year after leaving TQL. However, the lawsuit claims that the noncompete’s language is overly broad and could even prohibit Patterson from working for unrelated companies like DoorDash.
In response to TQL’s actions, Jacob Patterson filed his own lawsuit against TQL in August 2022, seeking damages and injunctive relief. The legal proceedings in this case are ongoing.
The article also mentions the push to end noncompete agreements, with the Federal Trade Commission proposing a nationwide ban and Congress introducing the Workforce Mobility Act to limit their use. Advocates argue that overbroad noncompetes negatively impact workers and stifle competition and innovation. While more than 30 million people are currently bound by noncompete agreements, there is hope that these measures will lead to a change in their prevalence.
It is unclear when the FTC’s final rule will be released, but the efforts to limit noncompetes at the federal and state levels suggest a potential shift in their usage and impact.