WHEELING - A company is suing its former employee over an alleged breach of the non-compete agreement.

Audiology Distribution LLC, doing business as HearUSA, filed a lawsuit Nov. 6 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Wheeling against Jill K. Hawkins, individually and doing business as Hawkins Hearing LLC.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 11, Hawkins resigned from her position with HearUSA in Weirton. The complaint alleges that in disregard for Hawkins's contractual and common law obligations to HearUSA, she is preparing to open a new business, Hawkins Hearing LLC, in direct competition to HearUSA, in violation of her not-to-compete agreement she signed on Oct. 1, 2012.

The complaint states that in the spring, Hawkins began planning to leave HearUSA to start her own audiology services and hearing aid distribution business. HearUSA alleges that she began to solicit HearUSA's customers and patients by telling them she would soon be opening her own business and advised them against scheduling future appointments with HearUSA while still employed with the company.

HearUSA is seeking to restrain Hawkins from engaging in activities in breach of her non-compete clause for a period of 12 months, plus compensatory and punitive damages, court costs and attorney's fees. HearUSA is being represented in the case by attorney Theodore A. Schroeder.

On Nov. 13, U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp granted the plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order.

On Dec. 10, Stamp will hear arguments over a proposed preliminary injunction.

United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia at Wheeling Case No: 5:13-cv-154

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