AutoNation wants former GM to honor noncompete clause

By Charmaine Little | Jun 16, 2018

An auto dealership manager's new job could cost him thanks to a non-compete agreement with a previous employer, according to a lawsuit filed May 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Fort Lauderdale Division.

FORT LAUDERDALE – An auto dealership manager's new job could cost him thanks to a non-compete agreement with a previous employer, according to a lawsuit filed May 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Fort Lauderdale Division.

AutoNation Inc. sued Richard Vitek, the former general manager for its Mercedes-Benz Hunt Valley location, after he accepted a job offer with one of its main competitors, BMW of Rockville. The issue is, Vitek previously signed a non-compete agreement that bans him from being able to work for a competitor.

The lawsuit alleges thatt since Vitek held a high position with the company, BMW of Rockville now has an unfair advantage against it considering Vitek is knowledgeable of the ins and outs of the operation and strategies of his former employer. The plaintiff stated this is the reason it provides “specific and substantial economic benefits in exchange for agreements not to, among other things, compete with AutoNation,” according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiff also pointed out Vitek’s access to the company’s personal information, as well as unique training process as he worked as a supervisor and earned $230,000 in 2017. It also stated Vitek had access to documentation, such as reviews and confidential discussions provided by the regional president.

According to court documents, Vitek made a promise not to compete with the company when he signed the agreement in December 2016. The contract bans Vitek from being employed at any car dealership considered a competitor within 50 miles from AutoNation Mercedez Bens and 10 miles from any AutoNation establishment for a year after his termination or resignation. BMW of Rockville is within 50 miles from AutoNation’s Mercedes-Benz location and less than 10 miles from AutoNation’s Jaguar Land Rover location.

The plaintiff sued Vitek for breach of the agreement and requested the court to enter an injunction in which Vitek would have to return AutoNation’s confidential and private information to the dealership, enter an injunction enjoining and restraining Vitek from trying to do business with anyone who worked at AutoNation or any of the establishment’s customers for one year, working directly with any AutoNation competitor for a year, order Vitek to obey the terms of the contract in question, and award AutoNation legal costs and fees.

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