A Hamilton County judge has shot down an effort by Angie’s List Inc.to prevent three top-performing salespeople who left the company late last year from working at the newly opened Indianapolis office of competitor HomeAdvisor.
In a ruling issued Friday, Judge Daniel Pfleging withdrew a temporary restraining order issued Jan. 28, a week after Indianapolis-based Angie’s List brought suit, and he denied the company’s motion for a preliminary injunction blocking their employment.
Even though former employees Rick Myers, Maggie Leonard and Brock Crabtree had not signed non-compete agreements, Angie’s List argued they should be barred from working at HomeAdvisor because they misappropriated trade secrets and/or solicited Angie’s List employees to join HomeAdvisor.
“Angie’s List has failed to establish that it is reasonably likely to succeed at trial,” Pfleging wrote in his 20-page ruling. “Angie’s List has not presented evidence sufficient to support either claim.”
Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor are fierce competitors in the business of connecting consumers with home services providers. The Colorado-based company jumped onto Angie’s List’s turf in March, opening a 7,000-square-foot office on the second floor of One Virginia Avenue building, home to Scotty's Brewhouse restaurant.
A HomeAdvisor official told IBJ in February that the office planned to start with 30 salespeople but had room to accommodate another 40.
Pfleging’s ruling describes Myers, Leonard and Crabtree as “outstanding performers” for Angie’s List. It notes that when Leonard left the company, she kept as a keepsake a ranking of the top 20 salespeople that listed her as No. 1.
The ruling noted that since HomeAdvisor opened its Indianapolis office, more than 200 Angie’s List employees have applied for jobs at HomeAdvisor.
HomeAdviser’s parent, New York-based IAC/InterActiveCorp, offered in November to buy Angie's List for $512 million. Angie's List spurned the offer, saying it "dramatically undervalued the company."