A former sales rep for Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) DePuy Orthopaedics unit wants a federal judge in California, where non-compete agreements are illegal, to toss the 1 he says is keeping him from getting another job in orthopedic medical device sales.
Rob Behrens lives in Sandpoint, Idaho, according to court documents, but also owns property in San Luis Obispo, Calif.. When he landed a job as a DePuy Ortho sales rep in November 2009, he "obtained residence" in Placer County, Calif., and kept it until shortly before leaving the company, according to court documents.
When he took the job, Behrens inked a series of agreements, including the non-compete, which barred him from seeking employment from a competing firm for 18 months after leaving DePuy. The 26-year med-tech sales vet left the job in May and hasn’t been able to get a job in the industry since then, according to the documents.
Now Behrens wants Judge John Mendez of the U.S. District Court for Eastern California to bar DePuy Orthopaedics from trying to enforce the non-compete or prevent him from landing another job with a rival. The lawsuit also seeks damages and legal fees.
"The provision of the subject agreement prohibiting plaintiff from engaging in his chosen profession for a period of 18 months are in violation of both California statutory law and California public policy," according to the documents. "Unless defendants are restrained from enforcing the terms of the illegal non-compete clause, plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm by means of lost regular income, lost future income earning potential, as well as the diminution of his skills, knowledge and experience in the current trends, technical specifications, and information related to the highly specialized orthopaedic medical equipment industry."