Home BERKSHIRE APPAREL CORPORATION & others vs. SIDNEY S. STOGEL & others.

360 Mass. 863

December 8, 1971

This is a bill in equity brought to enjoin the defendants from entering a competing business and from using and disclosing information confidentially divulged to them while they were officers of the plaintiff Berkshire Apparel Corporation. The other seventeen plaintiffs are affiliated corporations of Berkshire Apparel Corporation. The plaintiffs claim an appeal under G. L. c. 214, Section 19, from the final decree dismissing the bill as to each defendant. The judge found that there was at no time any agreement between the plaintiffs and the defendants restricting their activities upon termination of employment. He also found that the defendants returned all useful records and data to the plaintiffs soon after dismissal, and that the "intangible" knowledge and skill acquired by the defendants while employed by the plaintiffs did not constitute trade secrets or confidential information subject to any implied or express understanding that it would not become part of the experience that the defendants could take with them and use if their employment with the plaintiffs should end. There is nothing in the evidence which supports the plaintiffs' allegations to the contrary. The corporate officer who verified the bill of complaint testified that at the time he signed it he did not know whether in fact the defendants had possession of twenty-two categories of records, as alleged, and that a search later revealed that none was missing. The findings of the judge and his rulings that the defendants were not precluded from entering into competition with the plaintiffs in half-size dress manufacturing were clearly right, as was his final decree dismissing the bill as to each defendant. The judge was also within his discretion in refusing to grant the plaintiffs' motion to reopen the hearing for the purpose of introducing evidence of events subsequent to the closing of the trial. Kerr v. Palmieri, 325 Mass. 554 , 557. The plaintiffs' appeal is frivolous. The decree dismissing the appeal is affirmed with double costs. G. L. c. 211, Section 10.

So ordered.

Home SANDRA A. LERTORA vs. BELLA VISTA, INC. & another.

360 Mass. 863

December 8, 1971

A jury found for Miss Lertora in a substantial amount in this action of tort

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to recover damages for injuries. These she received while a passenger on January 25, 1968, in a motor vehicle owned by the corporate defendant (Bella Vista), and driven by another defendant, Edward A. Tellier. Miss Lertora, at that time thirty-two years old, was a former airline stewardess. She was then employed as a "cocktail hostess" by Bella Vista (of which Tellier was treasurer, a director, and manager). The evidence, in its aspect most favorable to Miss Lertora, is summarized. Two days before the accident, Tellier asked her to drive to Hyannis with him to see a restaurant, the purchase of which he and Bella Vista were considering. He wished to find out if she would be interested in working there in the summer if the sale went through. He wanted someone there who had previously worked for him and who was dependable. She was interested because her father lived "at the beach." They left Cambridge about 2:30 P.M. and reached Hyannis between 6 and 6:30 P.M. It was too late to look at the interior of the boarded-up restaurant. They went to another restaurant, also for sale, and had a drink there, and then had dinner and a drink at yet another restaurant. On the way back to Cambridge the motor vehicle, while proceeding at fifty to sixty miles an hour, skidded on a patch of ice. Miss Lertora was seriously injured. Tellier told her, when they both were in the hospital, that he "had a heavy foot on the gas." Each defendant's motion for a directed verdict was correctly denied. There was evidence which would warrant the jury, if they believed Miss Lertora's testimony, in concluding (a) that there had been ordinary negligence on Tellier's part, and (b) that she was on the trip as a business invitee, conferring a benefit (Jones v. Brote, 354 Mass. 129 , 130) on both defendants in a matter of interest to both. Taylor v. Goldstein, 329 Mass. 161 , 163-165. See Wolfson v. Fox, 338 Mass. 603 , 605. Cf. Pandiscio v. Bowen, 342 Mass. 435 , 437-438.

Exceptions overruled.