In the article “7th Circ. Doesn't End Debate Over Ill.'s Fifield Rule” published by Law360, Litigation Partner Jason Hirsh discusses the Seventh Circuit’s July 14 opinion in Instant Technology LLC v. DeFazio. This case, partly centering on the Fifield rule, presented the Seventh Circuit with its first opportunity to resolve a dispute among federal courts over the application of the Fifield rule. The rule holds that in the absence of evidence of other compensation, a restrictive covenant lacks adequate consideration unless the employee has been employed for two years or more. The Seventh Court, unfortunately, did not discuss the Fifield rule in its opinion, leaving the matter open to continued debate and uncertainty. Without the Seventh Circuit’s guidance, district courts are free to determine whether they believe the Illinois Supreme Court would adopt the Fifield rule. Of course, this may have a very real impact on the forum where restrictive covenant disputes are litigated and the predictability of enforcement.
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