Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., No. 25299.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtTOAL, Chief Justice
Citation548 S.E.2d 207,345 S.C. 378
PartiesCarol C. POOLE, Respondent, v. INCENTIVES UNLIMITED, INC. d/b/a Dunlap Motivation and Travel, Petitioner, and Incentives Unlimited, Inc. d/b/a Dunlap Motivation and Travel, Third-Party Plaintiff, v. Northshore Travel, Inc., Third-Party Defendant.
Decision Date04 June 2001
Docket NumberNo. 25299.

345 S.C. 378
548 S.E.2d 207

Carol C. POOLE, Respondent,
v.
INCENTIVES UNLIMITED, INC. d/b/a Dunlap Motivation and Travel, Petitioner, and
Incentives Unlimited, Inc. d/b/a Dunlap Motivation and Travel, Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
Northshore Travel, Inc., Third-Party Defendant

No. 25299.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Heard April 5, 2001.

Decided June 4, 2001.


345 S.C. 379
D. Garrison Hill, of Hill & Hill, L.L.C., of Greenville, for petitioner

Chris B. Roberts, of Brown, Massey, Evans, McLeod & Haynsworth, P.A., of Greenville, for respondent.

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS

TOAL, Chief Justice:

This Court granted Incentives Unlimited's d/b/a Dunlap Motivation and Travel's ("Incentives") petition for a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' decision in Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 338 S.C. 271, 525 S.E.2d 898 (Ct.App.1999).

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Carol C. Poole ("Poole") began working as an at-will travel agent for Incentives in 1992. Three and a half years later, in April 1996, Incentives asked Poole to sign an "Employment Agreement" which consisted solely of a covenant not to compete. Poole alleges she was told she had to sign the agreement in order to remain employed. Incentives states in return for signing the covenant, Poole "received continued employment" with the company. Poole signed the Employment Agreement on April 30, 1996.

345 S.C. 380
In November 1996, Poole left Incentives and began working for another travel agency. Incentives refused to transfer cruise bookings for Poole and five of her friends, causing them to re-book the cruise at an increased cost. Poole then sued Incentives to recover the increased costs. Incentives answered and counterclaimed, seeking an order temporarily enjoining Poole from violating the covenant not to compete and seeking damages for the alleged breach of the covenant. The trial court denied the request for a temporary injunction

Subsequently, both parties moved for summary judgment, and these motions were heard before the trial judge in February 1998. The trial judge, by order dated March 3, 1998, granted summary judgment to Poole on the ground the covenant not to compete was unenforceable and invalid since: (1) it was not supported by consideration; and (2) it was not witnessed by a disinterested party as required by S.C.Code Ann. § 41-19-50 (Law Co-op.1976).1 The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding the covenant was invalid and unenforceable due to a lack of consideration. The Court of Appeals did not address the applicability of section 41-19-50. Incentives was granted certiorari, and the issues before this Court are:

I. Did the Court of Appeals err in holding continued at-will employment is insufficient consideration to support a covenant not to compete entered into during an ongoing employment relationship?
II. Did the Court of Appeals err in refusing to address the applicability of Section 41-19-50 to the case at hand?

LAW/ANALYSIS

I. Covenant Not to Compete

Incentives argues continued at-will employment is sufficient consideration for a covenant not to compete entered into during an ongoing employment relationship. Poole argues separate consideration, in addition to continued at-will employment, is need for the covenant to be enforceable. We agree with Poole.

345 S.C. 381
In Reeves v. Sargeant, 200 S.C. 494, 21 S.E.2d 184 (1942), this Court set forth the...

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21 practice notes
  • Runzheimer Int'l, Ltd. v. Friedlen, No. 2013AP1392.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • April 30, 2015
    ...Sherman v. Pfefferkorn, 241 Mass. 468, 135 N.E. 568, 569 (1922). Contra Labriola, 100 P.3d at 793 ; Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) ; Freeman v. Duluth Clinic, Ltd., 334 N.W.2d 626, 630 (Minn.1983) ; Kadis v. Britt, 224 N.C. 154, 29 S.E.2d 543 (......
  • Nucor Corp. v. Bell, C.A. No. 2:06-cv-02972-PMD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • January 30, 2007
    ...addition to continued at-will employment, is necessary in order for the covenant to be enforceable." Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) (emphasis In this case, it is uncontested that the only consideration given to Bell at the time he entered the T......
  • Dove Data Products, Inc. v. DeVeaux, Opinion No. 2008-UP-202 (S.C. App. 3/24/2008), Opinion No. 2008-UP-202.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 24, 2008
    ...addition to continued at-will employment, is necessary in order for the covenant to be enforceable. Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 382, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) (Poole First, Dove Data claims there is a distinction between non-compete and non-solicitation covenants and......
  • Dove Data Prods. v. DeVeaux, 2008-UP-202
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 24, 2008
    ...addition to continued at-will employment, is necessary in order for the covenant to be enforceable. Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 382, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) (Poole II). First, Dove Data claims there is a distinction between non-compete and non-solicitation covenant......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • Runzheimer Int'l, Ltd. v. Friedlen, No. 2013AP1392.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • April 30, 2015
    ...Sherman v. Pfefferkorn, 241 Mass. 468, 135 N.E. 568, 569 (1922). Contra Labriola, 100 P.3d at 793 ; Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) ; Freeman v. Duluth Clinic, Ltd., 334 N.W.2d 626, 630 (Minn.1983) ; Kadis v. Britt, 224 N.C. 154, 29 S.E.2d 543 (......
  • Nucor Corp. v. Bell, C.A. No. 2:06-cv-02972-PMD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • January 30, 2007
    ...addition to continued at-will employment, is necessary in order for the covenant to be enforceable." Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) (emphasis In this case, it is uncontested that the only consideration given to Bell at the time he entered the T......
  • Dove Data Products, Inc. v. DeVeaux, Opinion No. 2008-UP-202 (S.C. App. 3/24/2008), Opinion No. 2008-UP-202.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 24, 2008
    ...addition to continued at-will employment, is necessary in order for the covenant to be enforceable. Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 382, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) (Poole First, Dove Data claims there is a distinction between non-compete and non-solicitation covenants and......
  • Dove Data Prods. v. DeVeaux, 2008-UP-202
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • March 24, 2008
    ...addition to continued at-will employment, is necessary in order for the covenant to be enforceable. Poole v. Incentives Unlimited, Inc., 345 S.C. 378, 382, 548 S.E.2d 207, 209 (2001) (Poole II). First, Dove Data claims there is a distinction between non-compete and non-solicitation covenant......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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