Teacher breaks chain's no-compete, lands in jail

#1
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/101808dnmetchacha.3cf3f42.html

Last week, a Collin County district judge ordered Mr. Rush to serve 30 days in the county jail for contempt of court after violating an order prohibiting him from teaching dance lessons within 25 miles of a Plano dance studio.
Mr. Rush's former bosses at Arthur Murray Dance Studios said the dancer violated terms of a non-compete employment agreement. By teaching near the studio, they said, Mr. Rush could undermine their "competitive advantage."
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#2
Very, um, interesting comment from "anondancer" in the comments under that article. :shock: Somebody's about to be in a lot of trouble, but I'm not sure who.
 
#3
This seems like a strange case all around. The impression I've got from the article is as if the studio decided to make an example of this guy which is why they pressed the case so hard.

IMO, it's yet another excess of our judicial system, like one we had in Suffolk county maybe 10 years ago, when a woman was arrested because she had an outstanding ticket for walking a dog without a leash.
 

etp777

Active Member
#4
not sure what I think about this one. Not a fan of government overinvolvement anywhere, but he signed the contract and then knowingly not once, but twice, broke it. Not only breaking contract second time, but breaking a court order.
 

nucat78

Active Member
#5
Logical or not, fair or not, a court order is to be obeyed or you go to jail. It's quite simple. Hire an attorney if you want it rescinded.
 

Standarddancer

Well-Known Member
#6
It's interesting how Arthur Murray claimed "Mr. Rush certainly reaped the benefits of having extensive training by world-renowned experts," if it's true, probably the teacher's lawyer could offer to pay back all the lessons with world masters to free him up from jail.

Not sure to what extent the studio trained this teacher, if the dance teacher really get instructions from world class masters, then it is unfair for the studio that he uses these knowledge to compete against the studio.

Maybe the poor teacher doesn't have the money to reimburse the studio for the training cost incurred and the studio insisted to make an example out of this guy so push him to jail.
 
#7
Hire an attorney if you want it rescinded.
That may be the issue right there: the studio probably has an attorney and the teacher probably does not.

With that kind of inequity its not even clear that the contract is valid - there's a lot of variability there from state to state. Since it was a civil case he doesn't get a public defender to provide even basic advice such as "don't tick off the judge"

If there are other legitimate concerns about the case (as alleged in the comments) then those should be handled on their merits if any, not under the guise of restricting competition.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#8
With that kind of inequity its not even clear that the contract is valid - there's a lot of variability there from state to state. Since it was a civil case he doesn't get a public defender to provide even basic advice such as "don't tick off the judge"

They quoted his lawyer in the article. ;)
 
#9
Seconding nucat. looks like the jailing has nothing to do directly with the non-compete clause or how that is interpreted by Arthur Murray. If that were all, it would be two people having a tiff. In this case, the court had a clear opinion and sided with A&M, and asked him to cease working within 25 miles. At this point, everybody in his position is afforded the opportunity to indulge in civil disobedience, but that doesn't also come with a get-out-of-jail-free card.

That said, I would personally try to remember this incident always. If I ever meet someone who wants to take dance lessons in the Dallas area, I'd be sure to recommend strongly against thus A&M studio.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#10
The issue here is not the non-compete. That in itself, could be questionable. The issue is that he is jailed for disregarding a court order, which is seperate from the non-compete.
 

danceronice

Well-Known Member
#11
With that kind of inequity its not even clear that the contract is valid - .
He's in jail for violating a court order enforcing the contract--the court's already reviewed the contract and found it to be valid under the laws of the state of Texas. There's nothing illegal in most states about noncompetitive agreements--I've had to sign them before (oddly enough mostly with tutoring or teaching jobs.)

If you mean because he didn't have a lawyer when he signed, that's not relevant. In the majority of cases, unless someone is a minor, you do not need legal counsel to sign a contract. In fact you don't even have to READ the contract--if you sign it without reading it, so long as it's written correctly it's still valid. Willfully deciding not to look it over does not invalidate it.

No comment on the other accusations outside the article. Could be true, could be some jerk on the internet. Who knows.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#12
I'm guessing there is a lot more to the story than what has been reported, judging by some of the comments that accompany the posted article. Otherwise I can't imagine a studio having spent the amount of money that they've probably spent prosecuting this.
 

wooh

Well-Known Member
#13
I'm thinking there has to be something else going on too. The article said the studio is in Plano, and it's pretty easy to go 25 miles away, and still be in a part of the DFW metroplex, and thus able to make some money.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#14
Honestly the problem I see is NOT that he was teaching within 25 miles. The problem is that he SOLICITED studio students. That right there has been the basis of more studio/teacher lawsuits than anything I ever hear about.

Everyone has a right to make a living. But it is damaging to a studio when a teacher actually CALLS and INVITES students to take lessons with them down the street. And judges will protect the studio in those cases. And thus the judge upheld the non-compete clause. The teacher was not smart in continuing to teach locally after that, and therefore ended up in jail.

To teach next door is one thing. To call the students to follow you next door is another. Contempt of a court order landed him in jail.
 
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fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#15
some folks, in every walk of life, can be militantly stubborn about being right, even in the face of jail time...or equally dire straights
 
#16
the court's already reviewed the contract and found it to be valid under the laws of the state of Texas.
On the contrary, the court probably has not reviewed the substance of it in depth yet. Courts don't figure things out for themselves, they rule on the arguments that are presented to them, and in most cases only the arguments that are presented.

There's nothing illegal in most states about noncompetitive agreements--I've had to sign them before (oddly enough mostly with tutoring or teaching jobs.)
In most states they are generally known to be unenforceable, either as a matter of law or as a matter of futility. There's a growing recognition that you have a right to earn a living in your profession.

As for why he's in jail, that is probably not simply because he simply violated the court order and was caught by the judge, but because the other party found out that he was still teaching and complained to the judge. Judges don't go out and investigate, they act on what is brought before them.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#17
some folks, in every walk of life, can be militantly stubborn about being right, even in the face of jail time...or equally dire straights
I can't imagine the pickle his lawyer must be in right now... having to defend the client in court and in public, while probably reading him the riot act in private. It's got to be infuriating trying to represent a client who insists on sabotaging his own defense.
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#20
I can't imagine the pickle his lawyer must be in right now... having to defend the client in court and in public, while probably reading him the riot act in private. It's got to be infuriating trying to represent a client who insists on sabotaging his own defense.
that stuff does make lawyers nuts...people hire them then don't listen to them:rolleyes:
 

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