Rental Uniform Service of Florence, Inc. v. Dudley, No. 21885

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation301 S.E.2d 142,278 S.C. 674
PartiesRENTAL UNIFORM SERVICE OF FLORENCE, INC., Appellant, v. James E. DUDLEY, Respondent.
Decision Date17 March 1983
Docket NumberNo. 21885

Page 142

301 S.E.2d 142
278 S.C. 674
RENTAL UNIFORM SERVICE OF FLORENCE, INC., Appellant,
v.
James E. DUDLEY, Respondent.
No. 21885.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
March 17, 1983.

L. Franklin Elmore, of McGowan, Nettles, Keller & Eaton, Florence, for appellant.

Page 143

[278 S.C. 675] D. Kenneth Baker, Darlington, for respondent.

PER CURIAM:

Rental Uniform Service of Florence, Inc., appellant, was engaged in the business of laundering and furnishing coveralls, work clothes, uniforms and other items to commercial establishments in fourteen counties in South Carolina.

Respondent was employed by appellant for seven years until his termination in 1979. His duties consisted of driving a truck to pick up and deliver the industrial laundry to and from appellant's customers in a six-county area within appellant's fourteen-county territory.

About a year after leaving his job with appellant, respondent began working for a competitor in the same area in which he had worked while employed by appellant. Subsequently, appellant commenced this action to enforce the terms of a covenant not to compete contained in the employment contract executed by respondent in 1972.

The trial judge found the agreement to be unreasonably restrictive and denied appellant's request for injunctive relief.

The pertinent portions of the agreement in question are quoted below:

That upon termination of his employment ... the [respondent] shall not, directly or indirectly, during a period of three years immediately following such termination engage in the industrial laundry business ... in any capacity whatsoever in the area within said Territory hereinabove referred to in which [respondent] worked or to which he was assigned at any time during his employment with the Company...

Restrictive covenants not to compete are generally disfavored and will be strictly construed against the employer. An agreement's enforceability depends on whether it is necessary for the protection of the legitimate interest of the employer, is reasonably limited in its operation with respect to time and place, is not unduly harsh and oppressive in curtailing the legitimate efforts of the employee to earn a livelihood, is reasonable from the standpoint of [278 S.C. 676] sound public policy, and is supported by a valuable consideration. Sermons v. Caine & Estes Insurance Agency, Inc., 275 S.C. 506, 273 S.E.2d 338 (1980).

The three-year time restraint is only a year longer than the two-year...

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36 practice notes
  • Dent v. Beazer Materials and Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:89-2851-8.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • December 28, 1995
    ...of a contract are clear and unambiguous, its construction is for the court.13 Rental Uniform Service of Florence, Inc. v. James E. Dudley, 278 S.C. 674, 301 S.E.2d 142, 143 (1983) citing Proffitt v. Sitton, 244 S.C. 206, 136 S.E.2d 257 (1964). In ascertaining the intention of the parties, t......
  • Hapney v. Central Garage, Inc., No. 90-00475
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 1, 1991
    ...(1986); Blair Design & Const. Co. v. Kalimon, 366 Pa.Super. 194, 530 A.2d 1357 (1987); Rental Uniform Serv. of Florence, Inc. v. Dudley, 278 S.C. 674, 301 S.E.2d 142 (1983); Hill v. Mobile Auto Trim, Inc., 725 S.W.2d 168 (Tex.1987) (superseded by statute as recognized in Page 141 DeSantis v......
  • I'ON, LLC v. Town of Mt. Pleasant, No. 25048.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 17, 2000
    ...may address those additional grounds in a reply brief. Rule 208(a)(3), SCACR. 7. E.g., Rental Uniform Serv. of Florence, Inc. v. Dudley, 278 S.C. 674, 676, 301 S.E.2d 142, 144 (1983); South Carolina Pub. Serv. Auth. v. Carolina Power & Light Co., 244 S.C. 466, 479, 137 S.E.2d 507, 512 (1964......
  • Prysmian Cables & Sys. U.S. v. Szymanski, Civil Action 3:21-cv-01641-JMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • November 29, 2021
    ...the standpoint of sound public policy, and is supported by a valuable consideration.” Rental Uniform Serv. of Florence, Inc. v. Dudley, 301 S.E.2d 142, 143 (S.C. 1983). C. Misappropriation of Trade Secrets under the SCTSA and DTSA 16. The SCTSA and the DTSA define “trade secret” virtually i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
36 cases
  • Dent v. Beazer Materials and Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:89-2851-8.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • December 28, 1995
    ...of a contract are clear and unambiguous, its construction is for the court.13 Rental Uniform Service of Florence, Inc. v. James E. Dudley, 278 S.C. 674, 301 S.E.2d 142, 143 (1983) citing Proffitt v. Sitton, 244 S.C. 206, 136 S.E.2d 257 (1964). In ascertaining the intention of the parties, t......
  • Hapney v. Central Garage, Inc., No. 90-00475
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 1, 1991
    ...(1986); Blair Design & Const. Co. v. Kalimon, 366 Pa.Super. 194, 530 A.2d 1357 (1987); Rental Uniform Serv. of Florence, Inc. v. Dudley, 278 S.C. 674, 301 S.E.2d 142 (1983); Hill v. Mobile Auto Trim, Inc., 725 S.W.2d 168 (Tex.1987) (superseded by statute as recognized in Page 141 DeSantis v......
  • I'ON, LLC v. Town of Mt. Pleasant, No. 25048.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 17, 2000
    ...may address those additional grounds in a reply brief. Rule 208(a)(3), SCACR. 7. E.g., Rental Uniform Serv. of Florence, Inc. v. Dudley, 278 S.C. 674, 676, 301 S.E.2d 142, 144 (1983); South Carolina Pub. Serv. Auth. v. Carolina Power & Light Co., 244 S.C. 466, 479, 137 S.E.2d 507, 512 (1964......
  • Prysmian Cables & Sys. U.S. v. Szymanski, Civil Action 3:21-cv-01641-JMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • November 29, 2021
    ...the standpoint of sound public policy, and is supported by a valuable consideration.” Rental Uniform Serv. of Florence, Inc. v. Dudley, 301 S.E.2d 142, 143 (S.C. 1983). C. Misappropriation of Trade Secrets under the SCTSA and DTSA 16. The SCTSA and the DTSA define “trade secret” virtually i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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