Florida Statute s. 542.335 is a statute that deals with restrictive covenants in contracts that impose a restraint on trade. It is an important statute to determine invalid restraints on trade that unreasonably or unfairly prevent competition. Any invalid restraint on trade is unenforceable. Restrictive covenants–or covenants in agreements that restrict you or prevent you from doing something–may unsuspectingly be included in contracts or the impact of the restrictive covenant may not be appreciated at the onset.
A party seeking to enforce a restrictive covenant in a contract has the additional burden of PROVING the validity and reasonableness of the restrictive covenant:
Under section 542.335, three requirements must be satisfied for a restrictive covenant to be enforceable: (1) the restrictive covenant must be “set forth in a writing signed by the person against whom enforcement is sought”; (2) the party seeking to enforce the restrictive covenant “shall plead and prove the existence of one or more legitimate business interests justifying the restrictive covenant”; and (3) the party seeking to enforce the restrictive covenant “shall plead and prove that the contractually specified restraint is reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate business interest or interests justifying the restriction.”