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H&R Block's Non-Competition Covenant Upheld, and Criminal Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on May 17, 2010 1:09 PM

H&R Block Eastern Enters., Inc. v. Morris, No. 09-11184, involved an action by a tax preparation firm against a former employee claiming that defendant violated the terms of her employment agreement by soliciting plaintiff's clients, providing tax-preparation services to plaintiff's former clients, and soliciting and hiring plaintiff's employees.  The Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part summary judgment dismissing both parties' claims, on the grounds that 1) the district court did not err by granting summary judgment on defendant's wrongful termination counterclaim because, even if defendant was hired for the 2006 tax season, no enforceable employment agreement governed the relationship; 2) defendant failed to exhaust her administrative remedies on her Title VII claim; and 3) an intra-corporate communication to someone who clearly had reason to receive the information did not constitute a publication for defamation purposes.  However, the court reversed in part, on the grounds that 1) the agreement's non-competition covenant was reasonable, considering the nature and extent of the business, the situation of the parties, and other relevant circumstances; and 2) the non-solicitation clause was enforceable because it was reasonable with respect to duration and activity covered, and it did not prohibit defendant from accepting unsolicited business.

In US v. Frazier, No. 08-11655, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's convictions for making false statements to a firearms dealer in connection with the acquisition of firearms, exporting firearms and money laundering, on the grounds that 1) defendant's identity was material to the lawfulness of the firearms sales at issue; 2) because defendant stipulated that he did not have a license to export firearms to Canada, the jury reasonably determined that he had violated 18 U.S.C. section 554(a) beyond a reasonable doubt and the district court did not err in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal; and 3) a reasonable jury would be able to infer that a wire transaction was the proceeds of unlawful activity that defendant had knowledge of.  However, the court reversed one defendant's sentence, holding that a miscalculated Sentencing Guidelines offense level affected defendant's substantial rights.

In US v. Ghertler, No. 09-10609, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's wire fraud sentence in part, holding that 1) the district court then imposed a sentence that clearly reflected consideration of the 18 U.S.C. section 3553(a) factors; and 2) the district court did not clearly err in finding that defendant used sophisticated means to perpetrate or conceal his fraudulent scheme.  However, the court reversed in part, on the ground that defendant did not occupy a position of trust with respect to the victims of his frauds.

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