On May 13, 2014, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, in Socko v. Mid-Atlantic Systems, clarified the requirement of new consideration when an employer and employee enter into an employment agreement containing a non-competition restrictive covenant after commencement of employment. As an appellate decision, this new clarification leaves a lasting and binding effect on the trial courts.
When Mid-Atlantic hired Socko as a salesman in March 2007, Socko signed an employment agreement with a two-year covenant not to compete. He resigned in February 2009, but was rehired in June 2009 and signed a new employment agreement with a similar two-year covenant not to compete. Subsequently, he signed a third employment agreement on December 28, 2010 containing a two year non-compete covering eight named states, including Pennsylvania, and anywhere else that Mid-Atlantic did business. In January 2012, Socko resigned and took a position with a competitor basement waterproofing company located in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Mid-Atlantic wrote the new employer enclosing the third employment letter and threatening litigation. The new employer terminated Socko, who sued for declaratory judgment seeking a determination that the non-compete provision of the employment agreement was unenforceable for lack of sufficient consideration.