This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Bromen Office 1, Inc.,
Terrance J. Coens, et al.,
Davis Typewriter Co., Inc., et al.,
Filed December 28, 2004
Lyon County District Court
File No. C4-04-186
M. Barry Darval, Darval Wermerskirchen & Frank, P.A., Post Office Box 1175, Willmar, MN 56201 (for appellant)
Paul E. Stoneberg, Stoneberg, Giles & Stroup, P.A., 300 O’Connell Street, Marshall, MN 56258 (for respondents Coens, et al.)
Glen A. Petersen, Petersen Law Office, 225 North Tyler Street, Tyler, MN 56149 (for respondent Elton)
William J. Wetering, Hedeen, Hughes & Wetering, P.O. Box 9, Worthington, MN 56187 (for respondents Davis Typewriter Co., et al.)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.
Appellant Bromen Office 1, Inc. (Bromen) brought this suit alleging breach of restrictive covenants in employment contracts, tortious interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair competition against three former employees, respondents Terrance Coens, Norbert Padfield, and Trudy Elton; their current employer, respondent Davis Typewriter Co., Inc.; and the owner of Davis Typewriter, respondent Larry Davis. Bromen sought a temporary injunction to enjoin its former employees from working for Davis Typewriter and to enjoin Davis Typewriter from soliciting for employment any other Bromen employees, using any confidential information, or contacting any Bromen customers. The district court denied Bromen’s motion and Bromen appeals.
Because Bromen failed to establish that it would be irrevocably harmed absent a temporary injunction, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
I. Standard of Review
The district court’s decision regarding a motion for a temporary injunction is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Metro. Sports Facilities Comm’n v. Minn. Twins P’ship, 638 N.W.2d 214, 220 (Minn. App. 2002), review denied (Minn. Feb. 4, 2002). The reviewing court considers the facts in a light most favorable to the prevailing party. Id. The purpose of a temporary injunction is to preserve the status quo pending a decision on the merits of the action. Id. at 221. “The party seeking an injunction must demonstrate that there is no adequate legal remedy and that the injunction is necessary to prevent irreparable harm.” Medtronic, Inc. v. Advanced Bionics Corp., 630 N.W.2d 438, 451 (Minn. App. 2001). Failure to establish irreparable harm is “by itself, a sufficient ground for denying a temporary injunction.” Id. This court reviews the question of whether a party has an adequate legal remedy de novo. Id.
II. Denial of Injunction
When deciding whether to grant a temporary injunction, the district court considers five factors: (1) the nature and background of the parties’ relationship; (2) the relative harm suffered by either party, including whether the moving party would suffer irreparable harm absent a temporary injunction; (3) the relative likelihood of success on the merits; (4) public policy considerations; and (5) the administrative burden created by judicial enforcement and supervision of a temporary injunction. Id. (citing Dahlberg Bros., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 272 Minn. 264, 274-75, 137 N.W.2d 314, 321-22 (1965)).
Irreparable harm occurs when a party has no adequate legal remedy. Medtronic, 630 N.W.2d at 451.
Mere injuries, however substantial, in terms of money, time and energy necessarily expended in the absence [of a temporary injunction], are not enough. The possibility that adequate compensatory or other corrective relief will be available at a later date, in the ordinary course of litigation, weighs heavily against a claim of irreparable harm.
Miller v. Foley, 317 N.W.2d 710, 713 (Minn. 1982) (quotation omitted). Where the injury alleged is primarily economic, grounds for a temporary injunction are not established. See Morse v. City of Waterville, 458 N.W.2d 728, 729-30 (Minn. App. 1990), review denied (Minn. Sept. 28, 1990).
In the area of employment contracts, an irreparable injury is “not shown by the mere fact that the employee has left the service and has entered the employ of a rival concern.” Rosewood Mortg. Corp. v. Hefty, 383 N.W.2d 456, 459 (Minn. App. 1986) (quotation omitted). Harm has been found where a former employee trades on good will established while working for a former employer or where a professional exercises personal influence over patients or clients of a former employer. Id.
The record here includes the employment contracts signed by respondents Coens, Elton, and Padfield. Two of those contracts contain a liquidated damages clause equal to six months of salary. Presumably, were Bromen to prevail in the underlying action, those damages would go toward compensating Bromen for the economic loss it claims. Although Bromen seeks protection for confidential information, the nature of its business (acting as a middleman between office supply manufacturers and business customers) does not suggest that Bromen has or seeks to protect highly confidential systems or designs. Most of Bromen’s customers are supplied by other office supply vendors as well, and there is no claim made that Bromen has exclusive rights to these customers. In short, Bromen’s claim is grounded in financial losses, something readily compensated by a damage award, thus implying that Bromen would not suffer irreparable injury if a temporary injunction is not granted.
The district court balanced the relative harm to Bromen against potential harm to all of the individual respondents, relying on affidavits submitted by them as the source of its conclusions. These respondents generally averred that they would have difficulty finding employment because of the economy, physical limitations, or family responsibilities, and that they are the sole or major source of support for their families. We therefore conclude that there is adequate support in the record for the district court’s determination that Bromen would not suffer irreparable loss and that the balance of harm favors respondents.
The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Bromen’s request for a temporary injunction.
 Bromen argues that the district court based its decision solely on an analysis of breach of the employment agreements’ restrictive covenants. Bromen argues that the court failed to make adequate findings on Bromen’s other claims, which allege violations of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Minn. Stat. § 325C.01-.08 (2002), and tortious interference with contract. Because Bromen failed to sustain its burden of proving irreparable harm on its breach of contract claim on the same facts, we need not decide whether Bromen is entitled to injunctive relief on its other claims.