SCRANTON — A lawsuit that pitted Our Town Magazine against a husband and wife who allegedly violated a non-compete agreement was dismissed on March 27 by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after a settlement was reached.
On March 22, a three-year permanent injunction was granted by the court against defendants Michael and Jennifer Rousseau as part of a stipulation between the parties.
The injunction prohibited the Rousseaus from “engaging directly or indirectly in any publication (print or electronic) similar to Our Town Magazine, Home Town Magazine and New Jersey Home & Life Magazine within 50 miles of Morris County, New Jersey,” according to the order approving the stipulation.
The injunction against the Rousseaus runs through Jan. 3, 2020.
The lawsuit was filed by Our Town Magazine on Dec. 16. In its complaint, Our Town alleged that the Rousseaus began publishing a similar magazine, called Home Town Magazine, and were violating a non-compete agreement they signed as Our Town franchisees in 2006.
The Rousseaus terminated their franchise agreement in November. As a result of the termination, Our Town alleged that the non-compete agreement had kicked in, prohibiting the Rousseaus from “engaging directly or indirectly in any business similar to that which is created by this agreement for a period of three years, at the franchise location and within 50 miles from any Our Town company-owned or franchised operation.”
The five-year franchise agreement signed by the Rousseaus and Our Town in February 2007 gave the Rousseaus the exclusive right to operate their franchise and publish their Our Town editions in Morris County, N.J.
Following the termination of the franchise agreement, Our Town said it found out that the Rousseaus were publishing Home Town and that there were many similarities between the two publications, including coverage area, advertisers and distribution networks.