Tiptoe through the torts
When the defendant, Clifford Witter, a dance instructor, waltzed out of the employment of the plaintiff, the Arthur Murry Dance Studios of Cleveland, Inc., into the employment of the Fred Astaire Dancing Studios, the plaintiff waltzed Witter into court.Â For brevity, the two studios are called ‘Arthur Murray’ and ‘Fred Astaire’.Â At the time Witter took his contentious step, Arthur Murray had a string attached to him — a certain contract prohibiting Witter, after working for Arthur Murray no more, from working for a competitor.Â That Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire are rivals in dispensing Terpsichorean erudition is not disputed.Â Now Arthur Murray wants the court to pull that string and yank Witter out of Fred Astaire’s pedagogical pavilion.
No layman could realize the legal complication involved in Witter’s uncomplicated act.Â This is not one of those questions on which the legal researcher cannot find enough to quench his thirst.Â To the contrary there is so much authority it drowns him.Â It is a sea — vast and vacillating, overlapping and bewildering.Â One can fish out of it any kind of strange support for anything, if he lives so long.Â This deep and unsettled sea pertaining to an employee’s covenant not to compete with his employer after termination of employment is really Seven Seas; and now that the court has sailed them, perhaps it should record those seas so that the next weary traveler may be saved the terrifying time it takes just to find them.
Arthur Murray Dance Studios of Cleveland v. Witter, 105 N.E.2d 685, 687 (Ohio Com. Pl. 1952).