Legal Corner: Are non-compete clauses enforceable?

Video: Legal Corner - Are non-compete clauses enforceable?

Submit your questions to news@kplctv.com. Civil matters only, please.

Question: “If a parent has nothing to do with their children, can the kids be adopted by a step-parent?”

Answer: Yes. The first consideration is whether or not the absent parent will consent to the adoption. If consent is granted, the adoption can go forward. If the absent parent objects, the Children’s Code Art. 1245 lists two grounds in which a contested adoption can be granted: (1) the parent has refused or failed to comply with a court order of support without just cause for a period of at least six months, or (2) the parent has refused or failed to visit, communicate, or attempt to communicate with the child without just cause for a period of at least six months.

It should be noted that since this is referred to “intrafamily adoption,” the adopting parent has to be married to the natural parent, not just in a relationship with that parent. Also, a voluntary child support arrangement does not apply here, as the code requires the breach of a court-ordered support payment.

Question: "My employer had me sign a non-compete clause when I was hired. Then I read that in Louisiana they are not enforceable. Why would they ask me to sign something that is not enforceable?”

Answer: Non-compete clauses in most every state are valid, and only need pass a “reasonable test” – i.e. is it standard time/place restrictions for that industry/business? However, Louisiana law considers these clauses as restrictions on commerce, and they are therefore discouraged. The relevant statute is La. R.S. 23:921, titled “Restraint of business prohibited”, which sets forth in Section A(1):

Every contract or agreement, or provision thereof, by which anyone is restrained from exercising a lawful profession, trade or business of any kind, except as provided in this section, shall be null and void.

The exceptions are: the agreement cannot exceed two years, must be limited to specific parishes or municipalities, and shall narrowly and accurately define the restricted business. (For example, it cannot say one cannot work “in the entertainment industry” or “in the food business”.)

Strangely enough, the statute highlights one profession against which NO non-compete clause will be deemed valid:

I. There shall be no contract or agreement or provision entered into by an automobile salesman … restraining him from selling automobiles.

Question:I am confused – someone told me there is a minimum size limit on largemouth bass, but a game warden told me there was not (but told me there was “bag limit” – how many you can keep). Could he be wrong?”

Answer: Yes and No! Statewide there is no minimum size limit to “black bass” which includes largemouth bass and spotted bass. There is a bag limit of 10. However, different areas have size limits and different bag limits, such as Caddo Lake, False River, Toledo Bend, and the Sabine River, from Toledo to I-10! If you want to see which areas have the different size and bag limits, the wildlife and fisheries website is: www.wlf.louisiana.gov

At the home page, click on “fishing”; then “freshwater limits” and you can see the different species of fish and click on the one you want to see the limits on.

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC-TV.

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