Tradesmen Int'l, Inc. v. Black, No. 12-2032 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Four upper-level managers at Tradesmen, a construction staffing company, formed a competing company in 2009. Tradesmen filed suit alleging breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information, breach of duty of loyalty, tortious interference with contractual relations, tortious interference with business expectancy, conversion, and civil conspiracy, and seeking a declaratory judgment with respect to covenants not to compete and injunctive relief. Proceedings against one defendant were stayed, due to bankruptcy. The district court granted summary judgment to the remaining defendants, except with respect to the declaratory judgment count, but found that the covenants had already expired. The district court denied attorney’s fees. The Seventh Circuit held that because of the stay, the summary judgment ruling was not a final decision, so that it lacked jurisdiction on appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1291, except with respect to the request for injunctive relief (28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(1)). The court affirmed on that issue, reasoning that Tradesmen failed to show that it suffered any harm, let alone irreparable harm, from the remaining defendants’ actions.