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SIFCO INDUS. v. ADVANCED PLATING TECHS.

March 31, 1994

SIFCO INDUSTRIES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ADVANCED PLATING TECHNOLOGIES, INC. ET AL., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALLEN G. SCHWARTZ

 ALLEN G. SCHWARTZ, DISTRICT JUDGE:

 BACKGROUND

 On June 17, 1992, plaintiff SIFCO Industries, Inc. ("SIFCO") purchased the assets of Selectrons, Inc. ("Selectrons"). On the same day SIFCO closed Selectrons' plant in Waterbury, Connecticut and terminated the employment of the individual defendants all of whom are Connecticut residents. Plaintiff asserts that the individual defendants, former employees of Selectrons, thereafter breached the non-competition/non-disclosure provision contained in their respective Confidentiality Agreements with Selectrons, agreements which were assigned to SIFCO upon its purchase of the assets of Selectrons. The individual defendants are alleged to have breached their respective agreements by having formed Advanced Plating Technologies (APT), a company that competes directly with SIFCO in the highly specialized field of selective plating. *fn1" The provision in question, which appears in each agreement, prohibits defendants from competing in the electroplating business anywhere in North America for a period of two years following termination of employment. Def. Mem., Exhibit 2.

 It is undisputed that on June 17, 1992, Marvin Rubinstein, the owner of Selectrons, notified all Selectrons employees by letter that:

 
It is with deep regret that I must advise you that I have just sold the major assets of Selectrons Ltd. (U.S.A.) and all of the shares of stock I owned in the overseas Selectrons corporations. The Waterbury plant will be closed as of today.

 Def. Mem., Exh. 4, p.1-3 ("the June 17 letter"). This letter constituted the first notice that the individual defendants received concerning the transaction between Selectrons and SIFCO and, more importantly, of the effect of such transaction on the employees of Selectrons. Def. Mem, Exh. 1-3, Affidavits of Romeo, Debkiewics, and Petrucci, P 4.

 With respect to the employment prospects of the Selectrons employees who had worked at the Waterbury plant, the letter went on to state:

 
Many of you-- particularly those in administrative, sales or skilled technical supervisory positions-- will be offered employment with the new owner, Sifco Industries, Inc. Some will be offered full-time positions if you are willing to relocate to the Cleveland area. A very small number may be offered full-time positions in Connecticut. Quite a few of you will be offered a consultation agreement.
 
I have been asked by the new owner to have you pick up any personal belongings you may have and leave the plant, which no longer belongs to me . . . I have tried hard to see to it that the plant was kept operating here in Waterbury, but was not able to arrange this.

 June 17 letter, at 2-3.

 Defendants were, respectively, senior administrative, sales or technical employees of Selectrons. Defendant Anthony Romeo was a manager of manufacturing, earning $ 41,000 per annum after eight years with Selectrons. Romeo Aff. P 2; defendant Mark Petrucci was a senior sales engineer with Selectrons for three years, Petrucci Supp. Aff. P 3, earning a salary of $ 45,000 per year (including commissions) at the time the assets of Selectrons were sold. Petrucci Aff. P 2; and defendant Michael Debkiewics was a senior electrical engineer at Selectrons, earning $ 35,000 per year after eight years of employment with Selectrons. Debkiewics Aff. P 2. None of the defendants had ever, in the course of their employment with Selectrons, "been disciplined, warned or given any indication whatsoever that [his] performance had been unsatisfactory." Def. Mem., Exh. 1-3, P 5; see also, June 17 letter, at 3 ("You have all been wonderful, loyal, hardworking employees").

 SIFCO, in its complaint in this action, has pleaded that each individual defendant's employment relationship with Selectrons "terminated" as of "on or about the 18th day of June, 1992." Complaint P 18. SIFCO further alleges that:

 
On or about June 17, 1992, after SIFCO purchased Selectrons, Selectrons ownership closed the Connecticut Plant at which the defendants were employed. Immediately after the plant closing, SIFCO offered to retain each defendant as a ...

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