West Publishing Cracks Whip, Man Says

     ARLINGTON, Va. (CN) – West Publishing fired a sales rep 2 weeks before his second child was born, and illegitimately demands that he not take a job with a competitor, “regardless of the nature of the job or its geographic location,” the employee says.
     Paul Leighton sued the legal publishing giant in Arlington County Court.
     He seeks a declaration of his rights under his non-compete agreement, which he says applied only “in the territory, geographic regions, city, county and/or state that employee worked in, serviced and/or was responsible for while employed by employer.”
     Leighton says he signed the agreement after being promoted to law firm consultant, giving him access to confidential customer information within his territory of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.
     After being fired, Leighton says, he was offered a position with West’s competitor Lexis Nexis, in New York City, so he contacted West’s human resources department to ensure that he wouldn’t be breaking the non-compete clause.
     West responded with an email stating: “Thomson Reuters believes that plaintiff will be in violation of the purported agreement if he takes a job with Lexis Nexis, regardless of the nature of the job or its geographic location,” Leighton says in his complaint. He says the company gave no explanation for its position.
     “Plaintiff never at any time while employed with defendant received leads or had any meetings or discussions with any law firm customers in New York,” the complaint states. “Moreover, law firm clients in New York City constitute an entirely different customer base with which plaintiff has no knowledge or unique understanding.”
     Leighton asks the court to declare that the agreement does not prohibit him from working as a “small law firm sales representative” for Lexis Nexis in New York, or for any other employer outside the Washington area. He also wants an injunction preventing West and Thomson Reuters from stopping him from finding a job with Lexis Nexis.
     Leighton is represented by John Carter of Fairfax, Va.

%d bloggers like this: