Non-Compete Unenforceable against Amusement Park Performer Due to Lack of Adequate Consideration

In Hineline v. Weston, the Illinois First District Appellate Court provides a good analysis of the requirement of adequate consideration for the enforcement of non-compete agreements.  2016 IL App (1st) 1142142 (1st Dist. 2016).  In 2013, Hineline was hired by an amusement park in Iowa as a “variety performer”. While under his contract  to perform with the amusement park Hineline wished to take 10 days off work.  Another performer, Weston, was selected to stand in for Hineline while he was off work for the 10 days.

An agreement was negotiated and entered into between the parties for this stand-in employment arrangement.  Pursuant to the agreement Hineline would continue to receive payments directly from the amusement park.   Instead of the amusement park paying Weston for his stand-in employment, Hineline agreed to pay Weston $1,750 for his work as his replacement.  The contract included a non-compete clause that stated Weston “agrees not to work for the venue for a period of 24 months after this contract.”  Weston executed the contract and performed his obligations as Hineline’s replacement.  Hineline thereafter paid Weston the agreed upon $1,750.

In 2014, Weston contracted with the amusement park to work as a “variety performer” which violated the 2 year non-compete clause in their agreement.  Hineline subsequently filed suit against Weston.  The trial court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of Weston and, Hineline appealed.

The appellate court analyzed whether the trial court’s decision was in error and upheld the trial court’s determination.  It initially examined whether the non-compete was supported with adequate consideration.  In Illinois, in order for a restrictive covenant concerning employment to be enforceable specific consideration must be included in the contract.  Absent specific consideration, Illinois considers continued employment of two years to be “adequate consideration”.  Here, Weston was only employed for 10 days and there was no specific consideration articulated in the agreement.  On this ground alone, the non-compete was unenforceable.  The appellate court continued its analysis further however and determined that the restrictive covenant was not “reasonable” since Hineline had no protectable interest as well.

Kevin Hineline v. Brad Weston, 2016 IL App (1st) 1142142 (1st Dist. 2016).

Alex Passo and Patterson Law Firm, LLC handle commercial litigation and professional negligence cases throughout Illinois.  Alex can be reached at (312) 750-1820 or