M3 USA CORPORATION v. QAMOUM et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting Medical Mile's motion to dismiss, Dkt. 10 , and denying M3's motion for preliminary injunction, Dkt. 24 . M3 may file an amended complaint as to the claims against Warpas on or before June 18, 2021. See attached document for details. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 06/04/2021. (lcrdm1)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
M3 USA CORPORATION,
Civil Action No. 20-2903 (RDM)
SUMMER QAMOUM, et al.,
Plaintiff M3 USA Corporation (“M3”) brings this action against two of its former
employees, Summer Qamoum and Robert Warpas, and Medical Mile Research, LLC (“Medical
Mile”), a company that now employs Qamoum and Warpas. M3 alleges that Qamoum and
Warpas have breached, and are continuing to breach, their non-compete agreements with M3;
that Qamoum breached her contractual and common law duties of loyalty to M3 and has
violated, and is continuing to violate, her non-solicitation agreement with M3; and that Qamoum
and Medical Mile are being unjustly enriched through the wrongful use of M3’s confidential
business information, are misappropriating M3’s confidential business information, and are
violating the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, 18 U.S.C. § 1836 et seq., and the District of
Columbia Uniform Trade Secrets Act, D.C. Code. § 36-401. Dkt. 1 at 11–18 (Compl. ¶¶ 66–
123). Pending before the Court are two motions: (1) Medical Mile’s motion to dismiss the action
against it for lack of personal jurisdiction, Dkt. 10, and (2) M3’s motion for a preliminary
injunction, seeking to enjoin Qamoum and Warpas “from further violating” their contracts, Dkt.
24 at 3.
For the reasons explained below, the Court will GRANT Medical Mile’s motion to
dismiss without prejudice and will DENY M3’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Warpas’s and Qamoum’s Employment with M3
For purposes of resolving the pending motions, the Court relies on the uncontested
allegations in the complaint, the declarations, deposition testimony, and customer lists that the
parties have proffered, and the testimony of Warpas, Qamoum, and her father from the hearing
on the pending motions. See Doe v. U.S. Customs & Border Prot., No. 20-cv-672, 2021 WL
980888, at *4 (D.D.C. Mar. 16, 2021) (quoting Clay v. Blue Hackle N. Am., LLC, 907 F. Supp.
2d 85, 87 (D.D.C. 2012)) (when evaluating a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction,
a court “may receive and weigh affidavits and any other relevant matter to assist it in
determining the . . . facts”); Cobell v. Norton, 391 F.3d 251, 260–62 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (noting that
courts should rely on declarations and, if necessary, an evidentiary hearing to resolve a motion
for a preliminary injunction).
Plaintiff M3 USA Corporation is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Pennsylvania. Dkt. 1 at 2 (Compl. ¶ 2). The company “is a leading provider of
market research recruitment, data collection, and support services primarily in the healthcare
space in the United States, Europe, and Asia, primarily doing business as M3 Global Research.”
Dkt. 24-2 at 3 (Lamitina Decl. ¶ 7). It “conducts healthcare market research, primarily for
market research agencies and pharmaceutical companies, by recruiting panels of healthcare
professionals, patients, caregivers and consumers to participate in surveys and interviews for
compensation.” Id. (Lamitina Decl. ¶ 8). “M3 acquires survey taker contact information by
buying contact lists from third party data vendors, cold calling, and internet research,” among
other techniques. Dkt. 25-1 at 7; see also Dkt. 25-2 at 2–4 (Richter Dep. 16:9–18:17). “Market
research in the healthcare space is a highly competitive industry, with high employee turnover
between companies competing over the same clients and customers.” Dkt 24-2 at 3 (Lamitina
Decl. ¶ 9).
On or about March 11, 2013, M3 hired Defendant Robert Warpas as an account manager.
Id. at 4 (Compl. ¶ 22); Dkt. 11 at 3 (Ans. ¶ 22). Warpas, who had “worked in the online survey
industry for years prior to working for M3,” Dkt. 25-1 at 7; see also Dkt. 25-4 at 3 (Warpas Decl.
¶ 3), eventually became a “Vice President of Market Research Sales on January 1, 2016” and
“Senior Vice President on May 16, 2019” at M3. Dkt. 1 at 6 (Compl. ¶ 33); Dkt. 11 at 4 (Ans.
¶ 33). His duties included “managing the Market Research Sales team to ensure it achieved its
sales quotas; participating in client-facing phone calls; helping contribute strategies for success
with the Global Sales Leadership team; maintaining personal relationships with existing
clients[;] and developing new business.” Dkt. 1 at 6 (Compl. ¶ 34); Dkt. 11 at 4 (Ans. ¶ 34).
On or about August 8, 2016, M3 hired Summer Qamoum “as a Qualitative Project
Manager,” and she was eventually promoted to “Qualitative Project Manager II.” Dkt. 1 at 6–7
(Compl. ¶¶ 36, 43); Dkt. 11 at 4–5 (Ans. ¶¶ 36, 43). Prior to joining M3, Qamoum had worked
in the market research industry for 2-1/2 years “as a project manager and assistant director of
operations.” Dkt. 25-4 at 2 (Qamoum Decl. ¶ 3). Qamoum’s responsibilities at M3 included
“managing multiple studies focused on qualitative research; overseeing set up and testing of
survey[s]/screener[s][;] monitoring . . . statistics[;] managing respondent honoraria and
closing/auditing/invoicing of projects in [a] technology-based system; . . . managing and
leverag[ing] relationships with vendors, domestic and international, to facilitate accurate and
timely deliverables, communications, and issue resolution; managing study profitability by
monitoring and accounting for all project costs affecting the budget; and [p]rovid[ing] guidance
and mentoring to members of the Market Research Project Management team.” Dkt. 1 at 8
(Compl. ¶ 44); Dkt. 11 at 5 (Ans. ¶ 44).
As part of their jobs—managing market research sales and managing research,
respectively, Dkt. 1 at 6, 8 (Compl. ¶¶ 34, 44)—Warpas and Qamoum had “access to
confidential and proprietary information . . . such as customer lists, products, services, pricing,
costs, profits, sales, marketing and business plans, budgets, forecasts, non-public financial
information, client requirements, internally developed methods of customer solicitation,
information assembled relating to existing and prospective customers, arrangements with
customers and suppliers, market or market extensions, trade secrets, processes, know-how,
methods of operation, software, and documentation.” Id. at 6, 8 (Compl. ¶¶ 35, 45); Dkt. 11 at
4–5 (Ans. ¶¶ 35, 45); Dkt. 24-1 at 8–10.
Before beginning work at M3, both Warpas and Qamoum signed the company’s
“standard Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement” (“PIIA”), which contained several
covenants relevant to this case. Dkt. 1 at 4, 6 (Compl. ¶¶ 23, 25, 38). The contracts that they
signed are not identical in every respect, but the relevant provisions are the same. Both
employees agreed with M3 (referred to as “the Company”) to the following:
Confidentiality. The Company has and will develop, assemble, and own certain
confidential Proprietary Information that has great value in its business
(“Confidential Information”). . . . Confidential Information shall include all
forms of information relating either to the Company, or any of its clients or
potential clients, learned by Employee during the term of this Agreement that is
not generally known by or available to the public. . . .
Employee agrees to hold, both during this Agreement and after the termination
of his/her employment, Confidential Information in strict confidence and trust.
Employee shall not disclose, in whole or in part, such Confidential Information,
either during this Agreement or after the termination of his/her employment, to
any person, firm, corporation, association or other entity for any reason or
purpose whatsoever except as reasonably necessary for the performance of
Employee’s obligations under this Agreement . . . .
Employee further agrees not to copy Confidential Information or remove
Confidential Information from the Company’s premises without a valid purpose
directly related to Employee’s responsibilities in connection with the business
of the Company.
Dkt. 13-2 at 4 (Warpas PIIA § 4); Dkt. 13-3 at 4 (Qamoum PIIA § 4). Both contracts included
appendices identifying M3’s “[c]ustomer list and all information contained in customer/company
records” as the types of trade secrets covered by the PIIAs. Dkt. 13-2 at 8 (Warpas PIIA
Appendix A); Dkt. 13-3 at 8 (Qamoum PIIA Appendix A).
Warpas and Qamoum also agreed to a non-solicitation covenant, which provided as
Non-Solicitation Covenant. During his/her employment with the Company
and for a period of one year (12 months) immediately following termination of
his/her employment with the Company for whatever reason, Employee shall not,
either directly or indirectly, call on, solicit, or take away, or attempt to call on,
solicit, or take away, or provide services to any of the customers or clients of the
Company on whom Employee called, performed services for, or became
acquainted with or aware of, during the term of his/her employment with the
Company, either for Employee’s own benefit, or for the benefit of any other
person or entity. The time period of the prohibition in this Section shall be
extended by any period of violation plus any period of time required for the
Company to obtain enforcement of the terms of this Section. . . . Employee
acknowledges and agrees that the period and parameters of this Section are
reasonable and necessary to protect the Company’s legitimate protectable
Dkt. 13-2 at 5 (Warpas PIIA § 5) (emphasis omitted); Dkt. 13-3 at 5 (Qamoum PIIA
§ 5) (same).
Finally, Warpas and Qamoum agreed to comply with M3’s standard noncompete covenant, which provided as follows:
Non-Compete Covenant. During his/her employment with the Company and
for a period of one year (12 months) immediately following termination of
his/her employment with the Company for whatever reason, Employee shall not
. . . be employed by or serve as an employee to a competitor of the Company
providing the same or similar product or services for any customer or client of
the Company for whom the Employee provided any such services pursuant to
this Agreement. The time period of the prohibition . . . shall be extended by any
period of violation plus any period of time required for the Company to obtain
enforcement of the terms of this Section.
Dkt. 13-2 at 5 (Warpas PIIA § 7) (emphasis omitted); Dkt. 13-3 at 5 (Qamoum PIIA § 7) (same).
The confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-compete covenants each contained an
acknowledgment by the signatory that breach would constitute an “irreparable harm to” M3, for
which damages would not be an adequate remedy. Dkt. 13-2 at 4–5 (Warpas PIIA §§ 4–5, 7);
Dkt. 13-3 at 4–5 (Qamoum PIIA §§ 4–5, 7).
In addition to these covenants, both contracts shared several other relevant provisions.
Notably, they established a geographic scope contingent on the work performed by the signing
employee, providing that “[i]nasmuch as [the] [e]mployee [would] be servicing the Company’s
customers/clients throughout the United States,” the covenants would apply to customers and
competitors anywhere in the United States, and would apply internationally to the extent that the
employee provided international services while working at M3. Dkt. 13-2 at 5–6 (Warpas PIIA
§ 8); Dkt. 13-3 at 6 (Qamoum PIIA § 8). The geographic scope clause also stated that the
“[e]mployee agree[d] that the scope of these restrictions [was] reasonably necessary to protect
the Company’s business.” Dkt. 13-2 at 5–6 (Warpas PIIA § 8); Dkt. 13-3 at 6 (Qamoum PIIA
§ 8). Both PIIAs also contained a “Duty of Loyalty” clause that barred the signatory from
“engag[ing] in any employment or business activity other than for” M3 while the signatory
remained an M3 employee. Dkt. 13-2 at 2 (Warpas PIIA § 2); Dkt. 13-3 at 2 (Qamoum PIIA
Finally, of particular relevance to Medical Mile’s motion to dismiss, both Warpas and
Qamoum consented “to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts for the District of
Columbia [where M3 was headquartered at the time] in any lawsuit arising from or related to”
their covenants in the PIIAs. Dkt. 13-2 at 6 (Warpas PIIA § 14); 13-3 at 7 (Qamoum PIIA § 15);
Dkt. 1 at 2 (Compl. ¶ 2).
Break with M3 and Establishment of Medical Mile
“On July 25, 2019, M3 terminated Warpas’[s] employment.” Dkt. 1 at 8 (Compl. ¶ 46);
Dkt. 11 at 5 (Ans. ¶ 46). Less than a month later, on August 22, 2019, Qamoum’s father, Jamal
Qamoum, registered a limited liability company also specializing in market research for the
healthcare industry in Michigan under the name “Medical Mile Research LLC.” Dkt. 1. at 8–9
(Compl. ¶¶ 47, 49); Dkt. 11 at 5 (Ans. ¶¶ 47, 49); see also Dkt. 1 at 8 n.1 (noting that the
registration contained a typographical error, referring to “Medical Mile Reasearch LLC”); Dkt.
22 at 3.
From the beginning, Medical Mile was a family venture. As noted, Jamal Qamoum is
Qamoum’s father. Dkt. 1 at 8 (Compl. ¶ 47); Dkt. 22 at 3; Dkt. 34 at 9 (Jamal Qamoum). Jamal,
who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, describes himself as “an entrepreneurial person” with
multiple businesses. Dkt. 34 at 7–8 (Jamal Qamoum). Qamoum and her father frequently
discussed starting their “own business,” and, as a result of those conversations and after
Qamoum had “started working in th[e] field,” Jamal Qamoum focused on the idea of starting a
market research company. Id. at 9.
After Warpas’s termination from M3, Jamal Qamoum and Warpas spoke about “the
opportunity [to] . . . start something small,” and together they decided to open Medical Mile.
Dkt. 34 at 43 (Warpas). Warpas and Jamal Qamoum evidently came to know each other through
Defendant Summer Qamoum. When asked at deposition about the nature of her relationship
with Warpas, Summer Qamoum testified only that they were “friends and colleagues” and that
the they lived together in 2019. Dkt. 24-6 at 12–13 (Qamoum Dep. at 22:9–23:6). At the
hearing, however, Qamoum’s father explained that Qamoum and Warpas “are a couple” and that
they are the parents of his “grandchild.” Dkt. 34 at 21 (Jamal Qamoum). They both now live in
Arkansas.1 Id. at 43. Although Jamal Qamoum and Warpas jointly decided to create Medical
Mile, Jamal Qamoum testified that he is the sole owner and investor in the company. Dkt. 34 at
7–8 (Jamal Qamoum). To date, he has invested approximately $65,000 in the business. Id.
Jamal Qamoum further testified that he did not ask Warpas if he had any agreements with M3
that would interfere with working for Medical Mile, and he attests that he was unaware that any
such agreements existed. Id. at 26.
On August 23, 2019, one day after Jamal Qamoum registered Medical Mile, Summer
Qamoum provided two-weeks’ notice to M3. Dkt. 24-2 at 27 (Lamitina Decl. Ex. 3). A couple
of anomalies marked her departure. For one thing, the move evidently came as a surprise to her
employer. M3’s Director of Qualitative Research attested that she was “blindsided” by the news
and attempted, without success, to persuade Qamoum to stay. Id. at 26–27 (Lamitina Decl. Ex.
3). For another, a forensic analysis of Qamoum’s computer use showed that her activities in the
final days of her employment differed dramatically from her typical activities, in ways she has
been unable to explain with any clarity. On August 28 and 29, 2019, Qamoum, still an employee
at M3, repeatedly accessed pages that allowed her to view lists of M3’s clients and panelists,
pages that she did not frequently visit in her day-to-day work. Dkt. 24-4 at 11–12, 20, 23
The complaint and the answer aver that Warpas and Qamoum reside in Texas. Dkt. 1 at 2
(Compl. ¶¶ 3–4); Dkt. 11 at 1 (Ans. ¶¶ 3–4). At the evidentiary hearing, however, Warpas
testified that they recently moved to Arkansas. Dkt. 34 at 43 (Warpas).
(Phillips Dep. 76:18–77:9, 108:2–14, 132:3–20). Typically, Qamoum accessed the “reports by
target” section of the site, which allows users to search projects by type, less than five times per
month. See Dkt. 24-5 at 40. By contrast, Qamoum accessed this part of the site 86 times in
August 2019, with 47 of those times occurring on August 28 and 29. Id. During those two days,
Qamoum also repeatedly accessed the site’s “survey audience” pages and repeatedly changed the
display from the default setting instead to display the maximum number of survey entries, either
800 or 6,000 depending on the number of records available. Dkt. 24-4 at 21–23 (Phillips Dep.
129:2–132:20). According to Neil Phillips, M3’s Chief Technology Officer, Dkt. 24-5 at 2
(Phillips Decl. ¶ 1), who ran the computer analysis of Qamoum’s activity, it would be possible to
cut and paste the contents of those survey entries, Dkt. 24-4 at 23–24 (Phillips Dep. 132:21–
133:6), theoretically making possible the efficient extraction of hundreds or thousands of entries
from M3’s computer network. All in all, Phillips deemed Qamoum’s activity “just odd,” id. at
12 (Phillips Dep. 77:1–3), and opined that the data suggested that Qamoum had been “searching
for a specific [set of contacts and] displaying them in a way that [would] allow [her] to extract
them,” id. at 25 (Phillips Dep. 135:10–12). The increased activity during August 28 and 29 is all
the more unusual in light of the fact that Qamoum asked to take August 28 off because she was
not feeling well. Dkt. 24-2 at 25–26 (Lamitina Decl. Ex. 3). When questioned at her deposition
about her activity during these two days, Qamoum said she did not remember the increased
activity or the reasons for it, because it “was a long time ago.” Dkt. 24-6 at 20 (Qamoum Dep.
66:22); see also id. at 21–28 (Qamoum Dep. 67:1–75:17). Later, at the evidentiary hearing,
Qamoum suggested that she “was probably looking for something” as part of “wrapping up at
M3.” Dkt. 34 at 67 (Summer Qamoum).
Operation of Medical Mile
On September 3, 2019, Qamoum left M3. Dkt. 1 at 9 (Compl. ¶ 51); Dkt. 11 at 5 (Ans.
¶ 51). She then joined Warpas working for Medical Mile, as a “research partner,” Dkt. 24-6 at
6–8 (Qamoum Dep. 12:12–15:9), although no one working for the company “has a specific
title,” id. at 7 (Qamoum Dep. 13:14–15). Other members of the Qamoum family also work for
Medical Mile. Although these individuals’ duties are only loosely defined, Dkt. 34 at 10–11
(Jamal Qamoum), they are as follows: Asim (Summer Qamoum’s brother) “helps with finances,”
id. at 10; Dkt. 24-6 at 10 (Qamoum Dep. 17:6–10); Oseas (Summer Qamoum’s brother-in-law)
helps with “payments and correspondence,” Dkt. 34 at 10 (Jamal Qamoum); Dkt. 24-6 at 10
(Qamoum Dep. 17:11–13); and Sejah (Summer Qamoum’s sister) “set[s] up payments for clients
and for the company,” Dkt. 34 at 10 (Jamal Qamoum); Dkt. 24-6 at 10 (Qamoum Dep. 17:20–
22). To date, Asim Qamoum has received roughly $60,000 or $65,000 from Jamal Qamoum for
his work in Medical Mile, and Sejah Qamoum has received $5,000. Dkt. 34 at 11–12 (Jamal
Qamoum). The record does not reflect how much, if anything, Oseas Qamoum has received for
Warpas and Summer Qamoum play crucial roles at Medical Mile. Of those working at
Medical Mile, they are the only ones with any healthcare market research experience. Dkt. 22 at
4. Although Jamal Qamoum testified that he anticipates hiring additional staff in the future, Dkt.
34 at 20 (Jamal Qamoum), for now, Warpas and Summer Qamoum manage operations and sales
for the company, id. at 10–11, and Medical Mile’s sole computer server is located at their home
in Arkansas, Dkt. 22 at 3; Dkt. 22-1 at 2–5, 11 (Qamoum Dep. 12:1–15:6, 40:10–21). Their
compensation arrangement also differs from others working with the company. Based on “a
verbal agreement” with Jamal Qamoum, once the company starts to turn a profit, Warpas and
Summer Qamoum will each receive five percent of the profits that each generates for the
company, Dkt. 34 at 19–21 (Jamal Qamoum), and that percentage will increase as the company
grows, id. at 34. But neither Warpas nor Summer Qamoum has received compensation yet for
their work for Medical Mile because, according to Jamal Qamoum, the company is not yet
generating a large enough profit. Id. at 12. In 2019, total revenue was approximately $41,000,
id. at 24, but the company sustained a net loss of roughly $46,000, id. at 12. In 2020, revenue
was almost $500,000, id. at 24–25, and the company turned a profit of approximately $50,000,
id. at 12–13. Warpas and Summer Qamoum each work only about 20 hours per week for
Medical Mile, id. at 24, and they are otherwise living off savings, id. at 37.
In May 2020, M3 became aware that Qamoum and Warpas were emailing M3’s clients to
solicit business on behalf of Medical Mile when a “top client” of M3 complained about
receiving an email from Summer Qamoum titled “Reconnecting (Healthcare Research).” Dkt.
24-1 at 15 (internal quotation marks omitted). In this email, Summer Qamoum explained that
she was “reaching out [to the recipients,] as [their] paths may have crossed at M3, and [she was]
hoping to reconnect” because she had “recently helped co-launch a healthcare panel.” Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted). The client wrote to M3:
Here’s another one I’ve never had an exchange with that just blasted to about a
dozen people here. I get that M3 can’t keep employees from leaving or going to
work for competition, but if this person was able to walk with your contact
database, someone may want to do some competitive intelligence to make sure
they didn’t also walk with your panel.
Id.; Dkt. 24-6 at 48 (Ex. E). The email received by the M3 client was not unique. Summer
Qamoum used a template, which she created “alongside [Warpas] and [with] some input from”
her father, Dkt. 24-6 at 47 (Qamoum Dep. 122:11–13), to send at least seventy-four email
solicitations on behalf of Medical Mile in March, April, and May 2020 to clients of M3 and
possibly others. Dkt. 24-1 at 13. A typical email, which Qamoum sent as a “Research Partner”
of Medical Mile, read as follows:
Not sure if you remember working with me during my days at M3. I am finally
on my feet at my new company and wanted to reach out to you with hopes that
we could work together again. [Smile Face Emoji] . . . If you are free anytime
next week or the week after, I would love to jump on the phone and reconnect. . . . I look forward to hearing back from you soon!
Id. at 14; Dkt. 24-6 at 49–56 (Ex. E). Similarly, Warpas sent at least 118 emails as a “Research
Partner” of Medical Mile to M3 clients between April and May 2020. Dkt. 24-1 at 22; Dkt. 27-1
(Ex. B); 27-2 (Ex. C). His emails were similar to Qamoum’s and in some cases contained
phrases such as “I recently came across your name and recognized it from my days at M3,” Dkt.
27-1 at 12 (Ex. B); “[It’s] been some time since we collaborated while I was at M3,” id. at 82
(Ex. B); and “I recognized your name from my 7[-]year tenure at M3,” see, e.g., id. at 101 (Ex.
B). On at least two occasions, Warpas wrote: “Hoping to re-connect as I recall some of your
frustration with M3 Global Research (specifically pricing, timing and feasibility), and thought I
may offer a better alternative” to working with Medical Mile Research.” Dkt. 26-2 at 2–3 (Ex.
Since beginning operations, Medical Mile has served eighteen clients, eight of which
remain active clients of the firm. Dkt. 31 at 4 (sealed). Warpas and Summer Qamoum both
worked with several of these clients during their time at M3. Warpas received commissions in
2018 or 2019 for work at M3 connected to two of Medical Mile’s active clients and four of its
inactive clients. Id. at 6 (sealed). Qamoun, for her part, worked for one of Medical Mile’s
current clients while still at M3, and worked with an additional three of Medical Mile’s inactive
clients while at M3. Id. Another Medical Mile client was an M3 client while Warpas and
Qamoun worked at M3, although there is no evidence that either personally worked with that
company while at M3. Id.
M3 also alleges that Warpas and Qamoum have solicited M3 panel members on behalf of
Medical Mile. Dkt. 1 at 10 (Compl. ¶ 63). To date, however, M3 has not produced evidence
clearly demonstrating that Warpas or Qamoum knowingly contacted any M3 panelists, as
opposed to clients, since leaving the company. (It is possible that some of the emails sent by
Warpas and Qamoum and submitted by M3 as evidence were sent to M3 panelists, but M3 has
failed to identify which, if any, of Warpas’s and Qamoum’s emails fall into this category.)
M3 brought this action against Warpas, Summer Qamoum, and Medical Mile on October
9, 2020. Dkt. 1. The complaint alleges that “Warpas breached, is breaching, and is threatening
to continue to breach” the non-compete covenant “of the PIIA by co-founding Medical Mile and
being employed by an entity that provides the same or similar services to M3 clients . . . within
the restricted time period and within the restricted territory . . . of the PIIA. Id. at 11–12 (Compl.
¶¶ 66–74). The complaint further alleges that Qamoum “breached, is breaching, and [is]
threatening to continue to breach” the non-compete, confidentiality, and non-solicitation
covenants of the PIIA by “co-founding Medical Mile and being employed by an entity that
provides the same or similar services to M3 clients . . . within the restricted time period and
within the restricted territory;” by “directly soliciting M3’s current clients and panel members;”
and by “misappropriating and misusing M3’s confidential proprietary, and trade secret
information;” both before and after leaving M3. Id. at 12–13 (Compl. ¶¶ 77–86). And the
complaint also alleges that Qamoum breached her fiduciary duty of loyalty to M3 by “misusing
her access to the Market Research system to misappropriate M3’s confidential proprietary
information and trade secrets with the intention to use them to compete against M3 without its
authorization or consent.” Id. at 14 (Compl. ¶¶ 87-91). The complaint then asserts a series of
claims jointly against Qamoum and Medical Mile, including claims for unjust enrichment, id. at
14–15 (Compl. ¶¶ 92–96); misappropriation of confidential information, id. at 15–16 (Compl.
¶¶ 97–103); violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, id. at 16–17 (Compl. ¶¶ 104–13);
and violation of the District of Columbia Uniform Trade Secrets Act, id. at 17–18 (Compl.
Defendants Warpas and Qamoum answered the complaint on November 20, 2020. Dkt.
11. That same day, Medical Mile moved to dismiss the claims against it for lack of personal
jurisdiction, arguing that it lacks sufficient contacts with the District of Columbia to sustain
personal jurisdiction and that it is not bound by the consents to personal jurisdiction in the
District of Columbia contained in the PIIAs that Warpas and Qamoum executed when they were
hired by M3. Dkt. 10. Three days later, M3 moved for expedited limited discovery to
“determine the extent of [Warpas and Qamoum’s] ongoing activities in violation of their PIIAs
and their possession and misuse of M3’s confidential and trade secret information” to support an
anticipated motion for a preliminary injunction. Dkt. 13 at 2. M3 also opposed Medical Mile’s
motion to dismiss and sought “leave to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery to determine (1)
[Medical Mile’s] actual contacts with the forum and (2) [Medical Mile’s] corporate ownership
and corporate structure, including Qamoum and Warpas’[s] relationship with” Medical Mile.
Dkt. 15 at 2. Warpas and Qamoum opposed M3’s motion for expedited discovery, Dkt. 14, but
sought, in the alternative, to conduct their own discovery “to resist whatever motions [M3 might]
file,” id. at 12.
On December 18, 2020, the Court granted limited, expedited discovery relating to the
Court’s jurisdiction over Medical Mile and the need, if any, for preliminary injunctive relief.
Minute Entry (Dec. 18, 2020). The Court also entered a stipulated protective order, permitting
the parties to safeguard their sensitive business information. Dkt. 20. Approximately three
weeks after the parties completed this limited discovery, M3 filed a supplemental memorandum
in opposition to Medical Mile’s motion to dismiss, Dkt. 22, and a few days later, Medical Mile
filed a surreply in support of its motion to dismiss, Dkt. 23. Then, on March 9, 2021, M3 moved
for a preliminary injunction against Warpas and Qamoum, Dkt. 24, seeking to bar them from
further violating the confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-compete covenants in their PIIAs.
Dkt. 24-8 at 2 (Proposed Order). On March 22, Warpas and Qamoum filed their opposition, Dkt.
25, and on March 31, Plaintiff replied, Dkt. 26. On April 29, 2021, the Court held an evidentiary
hearing, at which Jamal Qamoum, Warpas, and Summer Qamoum testified under oath. Minute
Entry (Apr. 29, 2021). At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court ordered Medical Mile to share
with M3 its client list and ordered M3 to share with Medical Mile a list of any overlapping
clients. Id. On May 7, 2021, M3 filed a supplemental memorandum in support of its
preliminary injunction, Dkt. 30, and sealed exhibits identifying which Medical Mile clients were
M3 clients during the time of Warpas’s and Qamoum’s tenure and whether Warpas or Qamoum
worked with any of those overlapping clients while at M3. Dkt. 31. Medical Mile, Warpas, and
Qamoum, in turn, filed a joint supplemental memorandum supporting Medical Mile’s motion to
dismiss and opposing the preliminary injunction. Dkt. 32. Both pending motions are now ripe
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) allows a defendant to move to dismiss for lack
of personal jurisdiction. In resisting such a motion, the plaintiff bears the burden of “establishing
a factual basis for the exercise of personal jurisdiction” over the moving defendant. Crane v.
N.Y. Zoological Soc’y, 894 F.2d 454, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1990). To do so, the plaintiff must “make a
prima facie showing of the pertinent jurisdictional facts,” First Chi. Int’l v. United Exch. Co.,
836 F.2d 1375, 1378 (D.C. Cir. 1988), meaning that the plaintiff must “allege specific acts
connecting [the] defendant with the forum,” Clay, 907 F. Supp. 2d at 87 (alteration in original).
“Mere conclusions or ‘bare allegation[s]’” of jurisdiction are insufficient. Fawzi v. Al Jazeera
Media Network, 273 F. Supp. 3d 182, 186 (D.D.C. 2017) (alteration in original) (citation
omitted). Although “[a] court may dismiss the complaint if it fails facially to plead facts
sufficient to establish that the Court has jurisdiction, . . . ‘where necessary, the court may [also]
consider the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record, or the
complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of disputed facts.’”
Achagzai v. Broad. Bd. of Governors, 170 F.Supp.3d 164, 173 (D.D.C 2016) (quoting Herbert v.
Nat'l Acad. of Scis., 974 F.2d 192, 197 (D.C. Cir. 1992)). To the extent a factual dispute exists,
“[a] plaintiff faced with a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is entitled to
reasonable discovery.” El-Fadl v. Cent. Bank of Jordan, 75 F.3d 668, 676 (D.C. Cir. 1996).
To prevail on a motion for a preliminary injunction, the moving party must show (1)
“‘that [it] is likely to succeed on the merits,’” (2) “‘that [it] is likely to suffer irreparable harm in
the absence of preliminary relief,’” (3) “‘that the balance of equities tips in [its] favor,’” and (4)
“‘that an injunction is in the public interest.’” Glossip v. Gross, 576 U.S. 863, 876 (2015)
(quoting Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)). For many years, the D.C.
Circuit evaluated these factors on a “sliding scale.” See, e.g., Davenport v. Int’l Bhd. of
Teamsters, AFL-CIO, 166 F.3d 356, 360–61 (D.C. Cir. 1999). It has read the Supreme Court’s
decision in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. at 20–24, however, “at
least to suggest if not to hold” that plaintiffs face “a more demanding burden” under which “a
likelihood of success is an independent, freestanding requirement for a preliminary injunction,”
Sherley v. Sebelius, 644 F.3d 388, 392–93 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).
This issue remains the subject of some uncertainty in this circuit. See Archdiocese of Wash. v.
Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., 897 F.3d 314, 334 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (“[T]his court has not yet
decided whether Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council . . . is properly read to suggest a
sliding scale approach to weighing the four factors be abandoned.” (internal quotation marks
omitted)); Am. Meat Inst. v. USDA, 746 F.3d 1065, 1074 (D.C. Cir. 2014), reinstated in relevant
part by 760 F.3d 18 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (en banc) (“This circuit has repeatedly declined to take
sides in a circuit split on the question of whether likelihood of success on the merits is a
freestanding threshold requirement to issuance of a preliminary injunction.”). But,
notwithstanding this uncertainty, it is clear that the plaintiff’s likelihood of success on the merits
is a “key issue [and] often the dispositive one” at the preliminary injunction stage, Greater New
Orleans Fair Hous. Action Ctr. v. U.S. Dep’t of Hous. & Urb. Dev., 639 F.3d 1078, 1083 (D.C.
Cir. 2011), and that, even if the sliding-scale approach survived Winter, “a plaintiff with a weak
showing on the” likelihood-of-success factor “would have to show that all three of the other
factors so much favor the [movant] that [it] need only have raised a serious legal question on the
merits.” Am. Meat Inst., 746 F.3d at 1074 (internal quotation marks omitted).
“A preliminary injunction may be granted based on less formal procedures and on less
extensive evidence than in a trial on the merits, . . . but if there are genuine issues of material fact
raised in opposition to a motion for a preliminary injunction, an evidentiary hearing is required.”
Cobell, 391 F.3d at 261. An evidentiary hearing, in particular, is required “when a court must
make credibility determinations to resolve key factual disputes in favor of the moving party,”
and “it is an abuse of discretion for the court to settle the question on the basis of documents
alone, without an evidentiary hearing.” Id.
The Court will first consider Medical Mile’s motion to dismiss and will then turn to M3’s
motion for a preliminary injunction.
Medical Mile’s Motion to Dismiss
In most cases, “a court must engage in a two-part inquiry” to determine whether it has
“personal jurisdiction over a non-resident.” GTE New Media Servs. Inc. v. BellSouth Corp., 199
F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000). The “court must first examine whether jurisdiction is
applicable under the state’s long-arm statute and [must] then determine whether a finding of
jurisdiction satisfies the constitutional requirements of due process.” Id. But because personal
jurisdiction is subject to waiver, that inquiry is unnecessary in cases in which the defendant has
consented to personal jurisdiction by entering into a forum-selection clause, thereby bestowing
jurisdiction through contract principles rather than through minimum contacts. Sabre Int’l § v.
Torres Advanced Enter. Sols., LLC, 60 F. Supp. 3d 21, 32 (D.D.C. 2014); see also Holland Am.
Line Inc. v. Wartsila N. Am., Inc., 485 F.3d 450, 458 (9th Cir. 2007). “[S]uch clauses are prima
facie valid and should be enforced unless enforcement is shown by the resisting party to be
unreasonable under the circumstances.” M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1, 10
(1972) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Atl. Marine Const. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for
W. D. Tex., 571 U.S. 49, 64 (2013) (holding that forum-selection clauses should be “given
controlling weight in all but the most exceptional cases.” (quoting Stewart Org., Inc. v. Ricoh
Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 33 (1988) (Kennedy, J., concurring)); Marra v. Papandreou, 216 F.3d 1119,
1124 (D.C. Cir. 2000). Here, all agree that Warpas and Qamoum entered into binding forumselection clauses in their respective PIIAs. In those clauses, they “expressly consent[ed] to the
personal jurisdiction of the . . . federal courts for the District of Columbia in any lawsuit arising
from or related to” the PIIAs. Dkt. 13-2 at 6 (Warpas PIIA); Dkt. 13-3 at 7 (Qamoum PIIA).
That consent is dispositive with respect to the Court’s personal jurisdiction over the two
individual defendants in this action.
The same reasoning, however, does not so neatly extend to Medical Mile, which is not a
signatory to the PIIAs. For present purposes, M3 does not argue that Medical Mile is subject to
personal jurisdiction in this forum under the D.C. long-arm statute. Rather, it is subject to this
Court’s jurisdiction, if at all, based on Warpas’s and Qamoum’s PIIAs for one of three reasons:
(1) because Warpas and Qamoum are Medical Mile’s agents, Dkt. 22 at 4–5; (2) because
Medical Mile is an alter-ego of Warpas and Qamoum, id.; or (3) because Medical Mile is “so
closely related to the PIIA[s]” that it was “entirely foreseeable, fair, and reasonable that [Medical
Mile] would be [haled] into Court in Washington, D.C. based on the forum-selection clause in
the [Warpas and Qamoum] PIIAs,” id. at 6–7. As explained below, the Court is unpersuaded as
to each of these theories.
The first of M3’s theories can be quickly dispatched. Even if Warpas and Qamoum are
now agents of Medical Mile, Medical Mile was not created until years after Warpas and
Qamoum executed their respective PIIAs, and thus they could not possibly have acted as
Medical Mile’s agents when they signed those agreements. Unsurprisingly, the Restatement
(Third) of Agency recognizes that an agent cannot bind a principle to a contract where the
principal lacks “the capacity to incur at least voidable contractual duties,” and “such capacity
requires existence.” Restatement (Third) of Agency § 6.04 cmt. b (Am. L. Inst. 2006).
Moreover, although a principal may adopt an agreement made before it existed, doing so
“requires assent or affirmance on the part of the ratifier,” id. § 4.04 cmt. c, and, here, M3 offers
no evidence that Medical Mile ever agreed to be bound by the PIIAs. To the contrary, Jamal
Qamoum testified under oath that he was unaware of the agreements at the time that he formed
Medical Mile, Dkt. 34 at 26 (Jamal Qamoum).
M3’s agent-principal theory is, accordingly, unavailing.
Alter Ego Theory
M3’s second theory—that Medical Mile is merely the “alter ego” of Warpas and Summer
Qamoum—fares no better. It is blackletter law that a corporation is generally “regarded as an
entity separate and distinct from its shareholders, . . . and this rule applies to” limited liability
companies, like Medical Mile. Ruffin v. New Destination, LLC, 773 F. Supp. 2d 34, 40 (D.D.C.
2011) (citations and quotation marks omitted); see also Labadie Coal Co. v. Black, 672 F.2d 92,
96 (D.C. Cir. 1982) (describing this principle as applying not only to shareholders, but also to
“other controlling individuals”). To be sure, courts may, on rare occasion, “ignore the existence
of the corporate form” and treat the individual and the organization as one and the same.
Founding Church of Scientology of Wash., D.C., Inc. v. Webster, 802 F.2d 1448, 1452 (D.C. Cir.
1986) (citing Quinn v. Butz, 510 F.2d 743, 758 (D.C. Cir. 1975)). According to M3, the Court
should do so here because Medical Mile is little more than a sham, set up to evade Warpas’s and
Summer Qamoum’s obligations under the PIIAs. Dkt. 22 at 5–6. The Court is, once again,
M3 fails to address what law governs whether the Court should pierce Medical Mile’s
status as a separate legal entity and, instead, treat the company as the alter ego for Warpas and
Summer Qamoum. The question of choice of law is not an easy one. M3 asserts claims against
Medical Mile under both federal law (under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, 18 U.S.C.
§ 1836 et seq.) and under D.C. statute (under the D.C. Uniform Trade Secrets Act, D.C. Code
§ 36-401), as well as the common law (under theories of unjust enrichment and
misappropriation). Dkt. 1 at 14–18 (Compl. ¶¶ 92–123). Further complicating matters, M3
asserts federal question jurisdiction, supplemental jurisdiction, and diversity jurisdiction. Id. at 2
(Compl. ¶¶ 6–9). The Court must, therefore, first consider whether federal or state law applies.
“Where a veil-piercing case is brought under a federal statute, ‘[t]here is significant disagreement
. . . over whether . . . courts should borrow state law, or instead apply a federal common law of
veil piercing.’” TAC-Critical Sys., Inc. v. Integrated Facility Sys., Inc., 808 F. Supp. 2d 60, 64
(D.D.C. 2011) (quoting United States v. Bestfoods, 524 U.S. 51, 63 n.9 (1998)). “Diversity cases
‘involv[ing] situations in which [a] federal interest [is] implicated by the decision whether to
pierce the corporate veil’ present the same obstacle.” Id. (alterations in original) (alterations in
original) (quoting U.S. ex rel. Small Bus. Admin. v. Pena, 731 F.2d 8, 12 (D.C. Cir. 1984)). And,
if state law controls, the Court must determine whether D.C. or Michigan state law applies, as
Medical Mile is a Michigan-registered LLC. That inquiry relies on D.C. choice of law rules,
which require the Court to determine whether D.C. or Michigan state “‘policies would be most
advanced by having its law applied to the facts of the case under review.’” Id. (quoting Hartley
v. Dombrowski, 744 F. Supp. 2d 328, 336 (D.D.C. 2010)).
Fortunately, the Court need not wade too deeply into this morass (without the assistance
of the parties) because federal, D.C., and Michigan law do not differ in material respects. To
start, “the difference between federal alter ego law and D.C. alter ego law is immaterial.”
McWilliams Ballard, Inc. v. Broadway Mgmt. Co., Inc., 636 F. Supp. 2d 1, 7–8 (D.D.C. 2009).
Under federal common law, the relevant inquiry “proceeds in two steps: ‘(1) is there such unity
of interest and ownership that the separate personalities of the corporation and the individual no
longer exist?; and (2) if the acts are treated as those of the corporation alone, will an inequitable
result follow?’” U.S. ex rel. Hockett v. Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., 498 F. Supp. 2d 25, 60
(D.D.C. 2007) (quoting Labadie, 672 F.2d at 96 (D.C.Cir.1982)). “Relevant to the first question
is the issue of the degree to which formalities have been followed to maintain a separate
corporate identity. The second question looks to the basic issue of fairness under the facts.”
Labadie, 672 F.2d at 97. This test parallels D.C. law, which will “pierce the corporate veil upon
proof, ‘that there is (1) unity of ownership and interest, and (2) use of the corporate form to
perpetrate fraud or wrong, or other considerations of justice and equity’ justify it.” Estate of
Raleigh v. Mitchell, 947 A.2d 464, 470 (D.C. 2008) (citation and quotation marks omitted). Like
the federal standard, the D.C. test requires an evaluation of “(1) whether corporate formalities
have been disregarded, (2) whether corporate funds and assets have been extensively
intermingled with personal assets, (3) inadequate initial capitalization, and (4) fraudulent use of
the corporation to protect personal business from the claims of creditors.” Id. at 470–71.
Similarly, under Michigan law, no bright-line rule “delineat[es] when the corporate entity
may be disregarded.” Foodland Distribs. v. Al-Naimi, 559 N.W.2d 379, 381 (Mich. App. 1996)
(citation omitted). “To overcome the presumption” of distinct corporate status under Michigan
law, “three things must happen.” Helena Agri-Enters., LLC v. Great Lakes, LLC, 988 F.3d 260,
271 (6th Cir. 2021). “The target corporate entity must be a ‘mere instrumentality’ of another
entity. The target entity must have been used to commit a wrong. And that wrong must have
resulted in loss to the plaintiff.” Id. (quoting Foodland Distribs., 559 N.W.2d at 381).
Here, the Court need not go beyond the first step in each of these inquires, because M3
has offered no evidence that would permit the Court to find that Medical Mile is a mere
instrumentality of Warpas and/or Summer Qamoum or that Warpas and/or Summer Qamoum
own or fully control Medical Mile. To the contrary, the undisputed evidence shows that Jamal
Qamoum formed the company; provided all of the capital used to fund the company; and is the
sole owner of Medical Mile. Dkt. 34 at 7–8 (Jamal Qamoum). There is no evidence, moreover,
that he has failed to “respect corporate formalities,” Helena Agri-Enters., LLC, 988 F.3d at 271,
or that Warpas or Summer Qamoum have intermingled their funds with Medical Mile’s funds.
The facts that Jamal Qamoum is Summer Qamoum’s father; that Warpas and Summer Qamoum
are the only employees of Medical Mile with experience in market research recruitment in the
healthcare space; and that the company’s computer server is located at their home provide some
support for M3’s initial suspicions. Dkt. 22 at 3; Dkt. 22-1 at 2–5, 11 (Qamoum Dep. 12:1–15:6,
40:10–21). But those facts alone do not, by any measure, support a conclusion that Medical Mile
lacks a separate legal identity; that it is “a mere instrumentality,” Helena Agri-Enters., LLC, 988
F.3d at 271, of Warpas and Summer Qamoum; or that the two individual defendants “so
dominate [Medical Mile] as in reality to negate its separate personality,” Labadie, 672 F.2d at 97
(internal quotation marks omitted).
M3’s alter ego theory, accordingly, is also unavailing.
“Closely Related” Theory
M3’s final theory comes (slightly) closer to the mark, but it fails as well. Although the
D.C. Circuit has yet to confront the question, a number of decisions from this Court have held
“that non-parties and non-signatories to an agreement may be bound by that agreement’s
forum[-]selection clause if their conduct is ‘closely related to the contractual relationship’ so that
[it] is ‘foreseeable [that] they would be bound by such clause.’” Song fi, Inc. v. Google Inc., 72
F. Supp. 3d 53, 60 (D.D.C. 2014) (quoting Sabre, 60 F. Supp. at 34); see also Kotan v. Pizza
Outlet, Inc., 400 F. Supp. 2d 44, 48–49 (D.D.C. 2005) (enforcing a forum-selection clause in a
franchise agreement signed by a company founder against the company he established to develop
the franchise); Marra v. Papandreou, 59 F. Supp. 2d 65, 77 (D.D.C. 1999) (finding that the nonsignatory owner of a company was bound by a forum-selection clause signed by the consortium
of which the company was a member), aff’d, Marra, 216 F.3d 1119. This theory, known as the
“closely related doctrine,” also finds support in decisions from several courts of appeals outside
the D.C. Circuit. See Carlyle Inv. Mgmt. LLC v. Moonmouth Co., 779 F.3d 214, 218–19 (3d Cir.
2015); Magi XXI, Inc. v. Stato della Citta del Vaticano, 714 F.3d 714, 722–23 (2d Cir. 2013);
Adams v. Raintree Vacation Exch., LLC, 702 F.3d 436, 441 (7th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 570
U.S. 918 (2013); Holland Am. Line Inc., 485 F.3d at 456; Marano Enters. of Kan. v. Z-Teca
Rests., L.P., 254 F.3d 753, 757–58 (8th Cir. 2001); Lipcon v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London,
148 F.3d 1285, 1299 (11th Cir. 1998); Hugel v. Corp. of Lloyd’s, 999 F.2d 206, 209–10 (7th Cir.
1993); Manetti-Farrow, Inc. v. Gucci Am., Inc., 858 F.2d 509, 514 n.5 (9th Cir. 1988). 2
“[C]ourts considering [the] question of whether a non-signatory may be bound by a
forum[-]selection clause take a common sense” approach based on the “totality of the
Courts differ in applying federal or state law to determine whether parties are subject to a
forum-selection clause. Compare Magi XXI, 714 F.3d at 722–23 (applying federal law) with In
re McGraw-Hill Glob. Educ. Holdings LLC, 909 F.3d 48, 58 (3d Cir. 2018) (applying state law).
As with its inquiry in the context of piercing the corporate veil, however, the Court concludes
that it need not resolve this question because Medical Mile does not satisfy any of the
formulations of the closely related doctrine.
circumstances” and ask “whether, in light of those circumstances, it is fair and reasonable to bind
a non-party to the forum[-]selection clause.” Synthes, Inc. v. Emerge Med., Inc., 887 F. Supp. 2d
598, 607 (E.D. Pa. 2012) (quoting Regions Bank v. Wyndham Hotel Mgmt., Inc., No. 09-cv1054, 2010 WL 908753, at *6 (M.D. Tenn. Mar. 12, 2010)). The tests vary, at least in emphasis,
however, between circuits. The Seventh Circuit, which has engaged in an extensive analysis of
the doctrine, focuses on two central concepts: affiliation and mutuality. Adams, 702 F.3d at 439;
see also Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc. v. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Indians, 807 F.3d 184, 212–13 (7th Cir. 2015).3 As to the first concept, affiliation, the Seventh
Circuit asks whether a non-signatory is affiliated with a signatory, and, if so, applies the “closely
related” doctrine if there is reason to bind the non-signatory by the forum-selection clause.
Adams, 702 F.3d at 439–40. For example, the court might apply the “closely related” doctrine to
prevent a company from evading a forum-selection clause by “shift[ing] business to which the
contract pertained to a corporate affiliate—perhaps one created for the very purpose of providing
a new home for the business—thereby nullifying the clause.” Id. at 441. And, as to the second
concept, mutuality, the Seventh Circuit applies the doctrine to permit a non-party to enforce a
forum-selection clause against a party, if that party would be able to enforce the clause against
the non-party. That can occur, for example, when party A to a contract may enforce the
agreement’s forum-selection clause under agency law against a non-party “secret principal” of
party B to the contract. Id. at 442–43. In that situation, under the Seventh Circuit’s reasoning,
In Hugel v. Corporation of Lloyd’s, the Seventh Circuit stated that “[i]n order to bind a nonparty to a forum-selection clause, the party must be ‘closely related’ to the dispute such that it
becomes ‘foreseeable’ that it will be bound.” 999 F.2d at 209. Since then, the Seventh Circuit
has developed “affiliation” and “mutuality” as means of measuring relatedness, but Hugel
suggests that the principle of foreseeability undergirds the Seventh Circuit’s analysis.
the non-party principal should be allowed to enforce the clause against party A as a matter of
The Third Circuit takes a somewhat less reticulated position and will enforce a forumselection clause with respect to a third party if that party is “closely related” to the contract,
“such enforcement [would be] foreseeable to the non-signatory,” and the dispute “fall[s] within
the scope of the forum[-]selection clause.” In re McGraw-Hill Glob. Educ. Holdings LLC, 909
F.3d at 59. “‘In determining whether a non-signatory is closely related to a contract,’” courts in
the Third Circuit must “‘consider the non-signatory’s ownership of the signatory, its involvement
in the negotiations, the relationship between the two parties[,] and whether the non-signatory
received a direct benefit from the agreement.’” Id. at 63 (quoting Carlyle, 779 F.3d at 219).
Other circuits apply similar variations of this test. The Second and Eleventh Circuits assess the
foreseeability of binding a party by a forum-selection clause. See Magi XXI, Inc., 714 F3d at
723; Lipcon, 148 F.3d at 1299. So too in the Eighth Circuit, where district courts have
interpreted circuit precedent to require foreseeability before deeming a non-party “closely
related.” See, e.g., Foreman Elec. Servs., Inc. v. Haliron Power, LLC, No. 19-cv-4157, 2020
WL 5351076, at *5 (W.D. Ark. 2020) (quoting Marano Enters., 254 F.3d at 757); Medtronic,
Inc. v. Ernst, 182 F. Supp. 3d 925, 932 (D. Minn. 2016) (same); CruiseCompete, LLC v.
Smolinski & Assocs., Inc., 859 F. Supp. 2d 999, 1011–12 (S.D. Iowa 2012) (same). The Ninth
Circuit, meanwhile, focuses on whether the alleged conduct of the non-signatory is closely
related to the contractual relationship. AMA Multimedia, LLC v. Sagan Ltd., 807 F. App’x 677,
679 (9th Cir. 2020); Tribank Cap. Invs., Inc. v. Orient Paper, Inc., 523 F. App’x 484, 485–86
(9th Cir. 2013); Manetti-Farrow, 858 F.2d at 514 n.5; see also Wilson v. 5 Choices, LLC, 776 F.
App’x 320, 328–29 (6th Cir. 2019) (focusing both on the relatedness of the non-signatories’
alleged conduct to the contract and on the Seventh Circuit’s mutuality principle to enforce a
The conceptual foundation of the “closely related” doctrine is not entirely clear. On the
one hand, it seems safe to conclude that the doctrine is not based on minimum contacts, since it
makes no use of the forum state’s long-arm statute and does not examine the constitutionally
required minimum contacts with the forum. But, on the other hand, it is not clearly based on
knowing and voluntary consent to personal jurisdiction by the “closely related” entity. As such,
the doctrine seems to sit in some tension with the Supreme Court’s personal jurisdiction
Under Supreme Court precedent, “[f]ederal courts ordinarily follow state law in
determining the bounds of their jurisdiction over persons.” Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S.
117, 125 (2014); see also Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 283 (2014) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P.
4(k)(1)(A)). State long-arm statutes and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,
in turn, generally limit the reach of state judicial authority to cases in which the defendant has
sufficient contacts with the forum state. See Ford Motor Co. v. Mont. Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct., 141
S. Ct. 1017, 1024 (2021) (citing Int’l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316–17 (1945)).
Those statutory and constitutional limits do not apply, however, when “a litigant . . . give[s]
‘express or implied consent to the personal jurisdiction of the court,’” such as by entering a
“freely negotiated” forum-selection clause. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 472
n.14 (1985) (first quoting Ins. Corp. of Ir. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694,
703 (1982), then quoting Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1, 15 (1972)).
To square the “closely related” doctrine with this controlling precedent, the Court must,
accordingly, assess whether the it can reasonably attribute a third party’s consent to jurisdiction
to apply to the non-signatory defendant as well. In some cases, such attribution may be
relatively straightforward, such as when the third party acts as the defendant’s agent or the
defendant is a successor to the defendant. The easy cases, however, are already governed by the
law of agency or corporations. The question, then, is what the “closely related” doctrine adds to
the law, and what limits existing Supreme Court precedent imposes on that addition. In
considering that question, the Court must avoid treating “consent” as nothing more than a “legal
fiction” or engaging in “circular” reasoning that premises “consent” on the presumption that
defendants know the law and then defines the law so that anyone engaging in the defined
conduct is deemed to have consented to personal jurisdiction. J. McIntyre Mach., Ltd. v.
Nicastro, 564 U.S. 873, 900–01 & n.4 (2011) (Ginsburg, J., dissenting) (citing Lea Brilmayer,
Rights, Fairness, and Choice of Law, 98 Yale L.J. 1277, 1304–06 (1989)).
For these reasons, the Court is skeptical that the “closely related” doctrine adds
meaningfully to existing agency and corporate law and, at a minimum, would hesitate to apply
the doctrine expansively and without briefs that address how the doctrine can be reconciled with
the Supreme Court precedent discussed above. For present purposes, however, the Court need
not define the doctrine’s permissible reach because M3 has failed to carry its burden under any
reasonable formulation of the existing doctrine.
In almost every formulation, the doctrine requires foreseeability, either at the time the
contractual forum-selection clause was executed or at the time the non-signatory became
involved in the dispute. Here, there is scant evidence to suggest that suit in the District of
Columbia was foreseeable from Medical Mile’s perspective. First, there is no evidence that
Jamal Qamoum in fact foresaw liability in this forum. Jamal Qamoum testified under oath that
he was unaware of the PIIAs at the time that he formed Medical Mile and commenced business,
Dkt. 34 at 26 (Jamal Qamoum), and there is no evidence to the contrary. Cf. Medtronic, Inc. v.
Endologix, Inc., 530 F. Supp. 2d 1054, 1056–57 (D. Minn. 2008) (holding that a non-signatory
employer was bound by a forum-selection clause because, inter alia, that employer was aware of
its employees’ non-solicitation employment agreements with a former employer); Ernst, 182 F.
Supp. 3d at 932–33 (declining to hold that an employer was bound by a forum-selection clause,
notwithstanding knowledge of its employee’s forum-selection agreement with a former
employer, because the new employer had not voluntarily joined the contracting party in some
type of litigation); Synthes, 887 F. Supp. 2d at 609–11 (finding that an employer was bound by a
forum-selection clause because, inter alia, that employer knew about its employees’ noncompete agreements with a former employer). Second, M3 has not persuasively shown that this
Court’s jurisdiction over Medical Mile was objectively foreseeable. Neither Jamal Qamoum nor
Medical Mile has any contacts with the District of Columbia, nor have they signed contracts
submitting to this district’s jurisdiction. Medical Mile’s only potential contact with the District
of Columbia lies in the agreements signed by two of its contractors—individuals who, as the
Court has already explained, are not alter egos or agents of Medical Mile, see infra Part III.A.2.
Nor are any of the other factors that courts have relied upon to establish that a non-party
is closely related to the dispute present here. Jamal Qamoum testified, for example, that he is the
sole owner of Medical Mile, Dkt. 34 at 7–8 (Jamal Qamoum), and all three witnesses testified
that Warpas and Summer Qamoum have no ownership interest whatsoever in Medical Mile, id.
at 23, 34, 68. Cf. Hugel, 999 F.2d at 209–10 (holding that a defendant was bound by a forumselection clause entered into by companies of which the defendant owned the vast majority of
stock); Peterson v. Evapco, Inc., 188 A.3d 210, 237–38 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2018) (concluding
that a company co-owned by the defendant and created to compete with a former employer was
closely related to the defendant and bound by the forum-selection clause). Likewise, there is no
evidence that Medical Mile benefited from the PIIAs; to the contrary, it was not created until
after Warpas had resigned and Summer Qamoum was on the verge of quitting. C.f. Hugel, 999
F.2d at 209 n.7 (“While it may be true that third-party beneficiaries of a contract would, by
definition, satisfy the ‘closely related’ and ‘foreseeability’ requirements, a third party beneficiary
status is not required.”) (citation omitted). Finally, there is no evidence that Medical Mile was
formed to allow Warpas and Qamoum to evade the non-compete agreements or forum-selection
clauses in the PIIAs. All that the evidence shows is that Medical Mile was formed by the father
of an M3 employee who later went to work for Medical Mile. Standing alone, that is far from
sufficient to establish that Medical Mile is bound by the PIIAs that Warpas and Summer
Qamoum signed years ago.
The Court therefore concludes that the “closely related” doctrine does not apply on the
facts of this case.
Because all three of M3’s theories of personal jurisdiction over Medical Mile fail, the
Court will grant Medical Mile’s motion to dismiss without prejudice. If discovery reveals
evidence that would support this Court’s personal jurisdiction over Medical Mile, M3 may seek
leave to amend its complaint to reassert its claims against Medical Mile at that time.
M3’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction
The Court’s holding that it lacks personal jurisdiction over Medical Mile has no bearing
on M3’s motion for a preliminary injunction, which seeks to enjoin Warpas and Summer
Qamoum—and only Warpas and Summer Qamoum—from further violating the confidentiality,
non-solicitation, and non-compete covenants in their respective PIIAs. Dkt. 24 at 1; Dkt. 24-8 at
2. Applying the four-factor test that governs motions for preliminary injunctions, see Winter,
555 U.S. at 20, the Court is persuaded that M3 is likely to prevail on the merits, at least in part,
but is unpersuaded that M3 has demonstrated that a preliminary injunction is needed to avert an
irreparable injury to M3’s business or that the balance of hardships or public interest tips in favor
of granting preliminary relief. The Court will, accordingly, deny M3’s motion for a preliminary
injunction as the record now stands but will permit the company to renew its motion on short
notice if Warpas and/or Qamoum engage in further misconduct likely to cause irreparable harm
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
M3 contends that it is likely to succeed on the merits because Warpas and Qamoum “are
in clear breach of their” PIIAs, “specifically[,] by joining a newly-formed competitor of M3 . . .
within a year of termination of their employment with M3, in violation of” the non-compete
covenant; “by directly soliciting the business of M3’s customers, clients[,] and survey plan
members within a year of the termination of their employment with M3, in violation of” the nonsolicitation covenant; “and by misappropriating and misusing confidential and proprietary
information developed [by] and belonging to M3, . . . in violation of” the confidentiality
covenant. Dkt. 24 at 1–2.
The Court pauses at the outset to consider whether the preliminary relief that M3 seeks
falls within the compass of its complaint. The answer to that question is straightforward with
respect to Summer Qamoum: M3 seeks a preliminary injunction enforcing the confidentiality
(Sections 3 and 4), non-solicitation (Section 5), and non-compete (Section 7) provisions of
Qamoum’s PIIA, and the complaint alleges that she has violated, and is continuing to violate,
each of those provisions. Dkt. 1 at 12–14 (Compl. ¶¶ 75–86). It is less clear, however, that the
preliminary relief that M3 seeks against Warpas falls within the scope of the complaint. The
complaint includes only one breach of contract count against Warpas, and that count invokes
only the non-compete (Section 7) provision of Warpas’s PIIA. Id. at 11–12 (Compl. ¶¶ 66–74).
The only other count of the complaint directed at Warpas is count eight,4 which seeks a
preliminary and permanent injunction against “[a]ll Defendants” and broadly alleges that
“Defendants”—without differentiation—“have engaged in breach of contract, breach of fiduciary
duty, and other wrongful and tortious acts” involving “[t]he . . . misuse of M3’s confidential and
proprietary business information, unfair competition, and solicitation of M3’s panel members.”
Id. at 19 (Compl. ¶¶ 125–26). The Court is unprepared to read this count to assert claims against
Warpas for breaching the confidentiality and non-solicitation covenants of his PIIA, however, for
two reasons. First, count eight incorporates the preceding factual allegations of the complaint,
and, as to Warpas (as opposed to Qamoum), those factual allegations focus exclusively on the
non-compete provision of the PIIA. Indeed, although the complaint does note that Warpas was
provided with access to confidential and proprietary information, it makes no mention of the
confidentiality or non-solicitation covenants when it comes to Warpas. See id. at 4–6 (Compl.
¶¶ 22–35); see also id. at 11–12 (Compl. ¶¶ 66–74). That contrasts markedly with the
complaint’s allegations with respect to Qamoum, which refer to her breaching all three of the
pertinent covenants. Id. at 6–9 (Compl. ¶¶ 36–56); see also id. at 12–14 (Compl. ¶¶ 75–86).
Second, count eight does not assert a separate cause of action but, rather, merely seeks a specific
form of relief. Equitas Disability Advocates, LLC v. Bryant, 134 F. Supp. 3d 209, 222
(“[I]njunctive relief is a type of remedy, not a freestanding cause of action.”); see also Base One
Although termed “count six” in the complaint, this is the eighth count in the complaint; another,
earlier count is also termed “count six.”
Techs., Inc. v. Ali, 78 F. Supp. 3d 186, 199 (D.D.C. 2015); Johnson v. District of Columbia, 49 F.
Supp. 3d 115, 117 n.1 (D.D.C. 2014). As a result, fairly construed, the complaint asserts only
one cause of action against Warpas, and that is for breaching the non-compete covenant. To the
extent M3 has a factual and legal basis to do so, the Court will permit the company to amend its
complaint on or before June 18, 2021, to assert claims against Warpas under the confidentiality
and non-solicitation covenants.
Turning to the evidence submitted thus far, the Court has little difficulty in concluding
that both Warpas and Qamoum solicited clients with whom they became acquainted while
working at M3. On April 24, 2020, for example, Warpas wrote to two prospective clients
“hoping to re-connect,” “recall[ing] some of [the prospective clients’] frustrations with M3
Global Research (specifically pricing, timing and feasibility),” and “offer[ing] a better alternative
of working with Medical Mile Research.” Dkt. 27-1 at 2–3 (Ex. B). He wrote to eight other
prospective clients in late May 2020 noting that it had “been some time since [they] collaborated
while [Warpas] was at M3 Global Research” and announcing that he had “recently helped launch
a new healthcare panel, offering access to extensive respondent profiling across daily functions,
management responsibilities, and treatment/working settings.” Id. at 82–88, 90 (Ex. B). And he
reached out to yet other prospective clients, observing that he “recognized [the client’s] name
from [his] 7[-]year tenure at M3 Global Research,” id. at 91–101 (Ex. B). Qamoum, for her part,
sent a barrage of similar emails to prospective clients. In some emails, Summer introduced
herself by stating that she was “[n]ot sure if [the client] remember[ed] working with [her] during
[her] days at M3,” Dkt. 27-2 at 3–10 (Ex. C); in others, she more tentatively explained that she
was “reaching out as [her and the client’s] paths m[a]y have crossed during [her] time at M3”
and Qamoum was “hoping to reconnect,” id. at 11–74 (Ex. C). In at least one case, far less
tentatively, Qamoum reminisced about her memory of “chatting with [the M3 client] early last
year over the phone about the patients and caregivers on [their joint] project showing up to the
studio in Philly,” id. at 75 (Ex. C).
Despite these emails, both Warpas and Qamoum claim that they were not drawing on
their contacts from M3 but, rather, were using “a sales tactic” to garner the attention of potential
clients they located using other means. Dkt. 24-6 at 47 (Qamoum Dep. 122:3–10); Dkt. 34 at 39
(Warpas). Warpas went a step further during his testimony before the Court, moreover, claiming
that he could not recall the names of any—not one—of his M3 clients because he worked at M3
“a long time ago.” Id. at 52. Neither contention is plausible. To the extent that Warpas and
Qamoum mean to say that they sent their emails without any idea whether the recipients were
M3 clients, the text of several emails belies that contention. And, beyond that, it is hard to
believe that they sought to woo clients by falsely claiming to recall them from their days at M3,
without any idea whether those potential clients would immediately recognize the ploy because
they, in fact, had not worked with M3 in recent years. Warpas’s claim that he could not recall
any of his clients from M3 is even more implausible. He claimed, for example, not to recall his
“second highest revenue client” from 2019. Id. at 51. To be sure, when pressed, Warpas
conceded that, if he thought “hard, [he] could probably name some clients that ring a bell,” and
explained that since 2018 he had become more distant from the M3 clients in light of his senior,
managerial role. Id. at 53. But reaching back, even as far as 2017, is no Herculean feat, and,
more importantly, it is difficult to believe that M3’s Senior Vice President for Market Research
Sales held so lofty a position that he did not know the names of any of the company’s clients.
That contention is all the more remarkable—and difficult to believe—given that M3 sent Warpas
an email on August 19, 2019, after his termination from M3, asking for him to sign off on a final
commission report to ensure the accuracy of the report. Dkt. 31 at 12–20 (sealed). To sign off
on the reports, Warpas was required to approve the listed client names, revenue figures, and his
commission associated with each. Id. Among other things, that report identified the major M3
client that Warpas claimed not to recall at the evidentiary hearing. Dkt. 30 at 2.
It is also clear that Medical Mile serves clients that Warpas and Qamoum previously
served while working at M3. Medical Mile identified all of its eight active and ten inactive
clients in response to a Court order. Fourteen of those clients were M3 clients during Warpas’s
and Qamoum’s employment with M3, and Warpas received a sales commission for his work on
six of those fourteen clients. Dkt. 33-2 at 1 (sealed). Qamoum, for her part, worked on matters
involving three of the clients with whom Warpas had worked, as well as a fourth client who did
not work with Warpas. Id.
There is also evidence that Qamoum reviewed numerous confidential M3 files after she
decided to join Warpas and her father at Medical Mile and before she left M3. In October 2020,
M3’s Chief Technology Officer, Neil Phillips, performed a forensic analysis of Qamoum’s
computer use (although not of her computer itself, which M3 could not find) and generated an
“Activity Report.” Dkt. 24-5 at 2–3 (Phillips Decl. ¶¶ 1, 6). As Phillips later testified, to prepare
this report he “pulled records of [Qamoum’s] last three years of activity by month and by day for
each section of the system [a]nd compared frequency of use of each part of the system for each
day.” Dkt. 24-4 at 9 (Phillips Dep. 74:9–12). Phillips’s analysis showed that Qamoum’s use of
confidential computer systems was “unusually high” on August 28 and 29, 2019, after she gave
notice that she was resigning from M3. Id. (Phillips Dep. 74:13–14); see also id. at 9–12, 14,
16–20 (Phillips Dep. 74:15–77:9, 89:2–4, 96:8–100:20, 108:2–15). This activity is especially
suspicious given that Qamoum asked to take a personal day on August 28 because she was “not
feeling well.” Dkt. 24-2 at 25-26 (Lamitina Decl. Ex. 3). Qamoum, for her part, has not offered
a convincing explanation for her increased use of these confidential systems during her final days
at M3. When asked about this unusual activity at her deposition, Qamoum claimed not to
remember running the reports, merely observing it “was a long time ago.” Dkt. 24-6 at 20
(Qamoum Dep. 66:6–22); see also id. at 21–28 (Qamoum Dep. 67:2–75:21) (repeatedly claiming
not to remember running various searches). Similarly, when testifying at the evidentiary hearing,
Qamoum stated that she could not remember running the reports but speculated that she “was
trying to hurry up and teach all of the new [staff] [her] projects.” Dkt. 34 at 67–68 (Summer
In light of this factual record, the Court has little difficulty concluding that both Warpas
and Qamoum have likely violated at least some of their contractual obligations to M3. The
emails submitted show that Qamoum likely violated the non-solicitation agreement. The overlap
between Medical Mile clients and clients served by Warpas and Qamoum at M3 demonstrate that
both former employees likely violated the non-compete agreement. As to the confidentiality
agreement, on the existing record, the Court finds that the most likely explanation of Qamoum’s
behavior during her final days at M3 is that she was reviewing the confidential files in
anticipation of starting work with Medical Mile. The fact that she asked to take a personal day
on August 28; did not tell M3 the real reason she was leaving the company; the extent of her
“unusually high” use of the confidential systems, Dkt. 24-2 at 9 (Phillips Dep. 74:13–14); and
her inability to recall why she did so all support that conclusion. The Court recognizes, however,
that the case is in its early stages, and discovery may reveal additional information that supports
or undermines M3’s contention that Qamoum was accessing the information to benefit herself
and Medical Mile. More importantly for present purposes, the Court also finds that there is no
evidence that Qamoum printed or copied any of the reports that she ran on August 28 and 29,
and there is no evidence that she physically transferred any of this information to Medical Mile.
As a result, there is nothing for the Court to order that Qamoum physically return at this time,
nor can the Court discern any preliminary relief that might remedy the alleged breach of
Qamoum’s duties of loyalty and that enforcement of the non-solicitation and non-compete
provisions of Qamoum’s PIIA would not already provide. Indeed, regardless of whether
Qamoum identified the M3 clients whom she subsequently emailed with solicitations on August
28 and 29, or more generally through her employment at M3, that information is subject to her
contractual duty of confidentiality.
The Court, accordingly, finds that M3 is likely to prevail on its claim that Warpas has
violated his non-compete covenant and that Qamoum has violated her non-solicitation, noncompete, and confidentiality covenants. The bulk of this evidence, however, appears to relate to
improper solicitation and work with M3’s corporate clients—that is, those clients who purchase
survey data from M3. There is relatively little evidence, by comparison, that Warpas and
Qamoum have improperly contacted or contracted with M3 panelists—that is, those who provide
the input used to complete the surveys. To be sure, an M3 witness testified that he received
some unspecified number of complaints from M3 panelists who heard from Medical Mile, see
Dkt. 24-3 at 11 (Richter Dep. 159:8–14), and it is possible that some of the emails that Warpas
and Qamoum sent out went to M3 panelists. But M3 has the burden of proof, and it has failed to
carry its burden with respect to the panelists at this early stage of the litigation.
Beyond disputing much of this evidence, Warpas and Qamoum argue that M3 is unlikely
to prevail on the merits for three additional reasons. They maintain that (1) the relief M3 seeks
would disrupt the status quo, contrary to the purpose of a preliminary injunction, which is “to
preserve the relative positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held,” Dkt. 25-1 at 8
(internal quotation marks omitted); (2) the restrictive covenants are unenforceable, as they apply
to an unreasonable geographic scope, id. at 9–14; and (3) the client information Qamoum
allegedly misappropriated does not qualify as a “trade secret” and therefore is not entitled to
protection, id. at 19. These arguments fail.
a. Disruption of the Status Quo. A preliminary injunction is “a stopgap measure,
generally limited as to time, and intended to maintain a status quo or ‘to preserve the relative
positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held.’” Sherley, 689 F.3d at 781–82
(quoting Univ. of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981)). Here, Warpas and Qamoum
maintain that the status quo has existed for “approximately 1.5 years,” during the period that they
have worked for Medical Mile, Dkt. 25-1 at 8, and, in their view, that is the “status quo” that
should be preserved during the pendency of the litigation. In other words, according to Warpas
and Qamoum, it is M3 that seeks to alter the status quo, and M3 should not be allowed to do so
at this preliminary stage of the litigation.
Warpas and Qamoum misunderstand what it means to maintain the status quo while a
case is pending on the merits. As the D.C. Circuit has explained, “[t]he status quo is the last
uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy.” Dist. 50, United Mine Workers of
Am. v. Int’l Union, United Mine Workers of Am., 412 F.2d 165, 168 (D.C. Cir. 1969) (quoting
Westinghouse Elec. Corp. v. Free Sewing Mach. Co., 256 F.2d 806, 808 (7th Cir. 1958)); see
also GoTo.com, Inc. v. Walt Disney Co., 202 F.3d 1199, 1210 (9th Cir. 2000) (“The status quo
ante litem refers not simply to any situation before the filing of a lawsuit, but instead to ‘the last
uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy.’” (quoting Tanner Motor Livery,
Ltd. v. Avis, Inc., 316 F.2d 804, 809 (9th Cir. 1963)); Donald J. Aspelund & Joan E. Beckner,
Employee Noncompetition Law § 8:5 (2020). Here, the last uncontested status existed prior to
the time Warpas and Qamoum solicited M3 clients while working for Medical Mile. The relief
that M3 seeks—preventing Warpas and Qamoum from continuing to do so—would restore this
last pre-dispute status and therefore preserve the status quo.
b. Enforceability of the Restrictive Covenants. Warpas and Qamoum next argue that the
applicable covenants are unenforceable because they are unreasonably expansive in geographic
scope. In assessing the validity of restraints on postemployment competition, the D.C. Court of
Appeals has turned to the Restatement (Second) of Contracts: Restraint of Trade (Am. L. Inst.
1981) (“Restatement of Contracts”).5 See Deutsch v. Barsky, 795 A.2d 669, 675 (D.C. 2002);
Ellis v. James V. Hurson Assocs., Inc., 565 A.2d 615, 618–19 (D.C. 1989). As explained in
Section 186 of the Restatement, “[a] promise is unenforceable on grounds of public policy if it is
unreasonably in restraint of trade. . . . A promise is in restraint of trade if its performance would
limit competition in any business or restrict the promisor in the exercise of a gainful occupation.”
Section 188 deals, in particular, with restraints on competition:
(1) A promise to refrain from competition that imposes a restraint that is
ancillary to an otherwise valid transaction or relationship is unreasonably in
restraint of trade if
(a) the restraint is greater than is needed to protect the promisee’s legitimate
(b) the promisee’s need is outweighed by the hardship to the promisor and the
likely injury to the public.
Restatement of Contracts § 188. The Restatement goes on to explain, in comment g, that
The parties to the PIIAs agreed that “[t]he validity, construction, operation[,] and effect of” the
PIIAs would “be governed by, and construed and enforced in accordance with[,] the laws of the
District of Columbia,” Dkt. 13-2 at 6 (Warpas PIIA); Dkt. 13-3 at 7 (Qamoum PIIA), and the
Court will, accordingly, apply D.C. law for purposes of M3’s motion for a preliminary
injunction, which solely seeks to enforce the terms of the PIIAs.
[t]he employer’s interest in exacting from his employee a promise not to
compete after termination of the employment is usually explained on the ground
that the employee has acquired either confidential trade information relating to
some process or method or the means to attract customers away from the
employer. Whether the risk that the employee may do injury to the employer is
sufficient to justify a promise to refrain from competition after the termination
of the employment will depend on the facts of the particular case. Postemployment restraints are scrutinized with particular care because they are often
the product of unequal bargaining power and because the employee is likely to
give scant attention to the hardship he may later suffer through loss of livelihood.
. . . If the employer seeks to justify the restraint on the ground of the employee’s
ability to attract customers, the nature, extent[,] and locale of the employee’s
contacts with customers are relevant. A restraint is easier to justify if it is limited
to one field of activity among many that are available to the employee. The
same is true if the restraint is limited to the taking of his former employer’s
customers as contrasted with competition in general.
Id. § 188 cmt. g.
D.C. law encompasses this balance in a two-step process. The Court must first consider
whether the restraint serves a legitimate interest of the promisee, and, then, must consider
whether the hardship to the promisor outweighs the promisee’s legitimate interest. See Deutsch,
795 A.2d at 677, 679. In applying the second step, courts consider whether the terms of a noncompete agreement “are reasonable in duration and geographic scope.” Robert Half Int’l Inc. v.
Billingham, 315 F. Supp. 3d 419, 430 (D.D.C. 2018) (citation omitted); see also Smith, Bucklin
& Assocs., Inc. v. Sonntag, 83 F.3d 476, 480 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (“Such covenants are perfectly
legitimate under District of Columbia law so long as they are reasonably tailored.”).
Warpas and Qamoum do not challenge the one-year duration of the non-solicitation and
non-compete covenants as unreasonable, nor could they, as “[c]ourts applying District of
Columbia law repeatedly have upheld restrictions that contain comparable restrictions with
respect to time.” Billingham, 315 F. Supp. 3d at 430–31 (collecting cases that upheld noncompete clauses lasting one to three years). Likewise, and presumably for the same reason, they
do not challenge the extension of the covered period to account for a period of violation.
Instead, Warpas and Qamoum take aim at the nationwide nature of the restraints, noting that
“courts in this District [analyzing] the reasonable geographic scope of non-competes have only
allowed much smaller geographic scopes to be upheld.” Dkt. 25-1 at 10. M3, for its part,
acknowledges that “there are no cases directly addressing District of Columbia law on the
enforceability of a similar nationwide non-compete covenant.” Dkt. 26 at 5.
Defendants’ unreasonable-geographic-scope argument faces a substantial difficulty at the
outset. Under D.C. law, “the territorial limitation requirement is generally inapposite where the
preliminary injunction entered by the trial court enjoins appellant, not generally from competing
in the same field as [the former employer], but merely from soliciting [the former employer’s]
customers.” Ellis, 565 A.2d at 620 (citing Hebb v. Stump, Harvey and Cook, Inc., 334 A.2d 563,
560–70 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1975)). That exception makes sense because, by limiting the noncompete to former customers, the contract achieves the tailoring required to strike the required
balance between protecting the former employer’s legitimate interest while, at least in most
cases, not unduly restricting the former employee. Indeed, limiting a non-compete to the former
employer’s customers is arguably better tailored than most territorial restrictions; if a former
employee, for example, served two large clients—one located in California and the other in
Ohio—it would make far greater sense to restrict that employee from soliciting those two
customers than restricting her from soliciting all customers in California and Ohio.
Here, the non-compete covenant contained in the Warpas and Qamoum PIIAs is limited
in this fashion. It precludes the former employee from working for a competing company that
provides “the same or similar services for any customer or client of [M3] for whom the
[e]mployee provided any such services pursuant to” the PIIA. Dkt. 13-2 at 5 (Warpas PIIA § 7);
Dkt. 13-3 at 5 (Qamoum PIIA § 7). Warpas and Qamoum, accordingly, can comply with this
covenant by refraining from providing services to any client for whom they provided services
while employed at M3. The non-solicitation covenant contained in Qamoum’s PIIA arguably
sweeps somewhat more broadly, since it applies not only to clients to whom she provided
services while employed at M3, but also applies to M3 clients that she “became acquainted with
or aware of” during her tenure at M3. Dkt. 13-3 at 5 (Qamoum PIIA § 5). But the same
principle comes into play. Neither covenant seeks to prevent competition on a wholesale basis,
and both apply only to companies that were M3 clients at the time that Qamoum (or Warpas)
worked for M3. See Ellis, 565 A.2d at 620 (territorial limitation does not generally apply to
covenants not to compete by “soliciting [the former employer’s] customers”). Indeed, if
anything, the covenants at issue here are narrower than those that D.C. case law has previously
enforced, see Ellis, 565 A.2d at 620–21, because the PIIA covenants apply to only those M3
clients that Warpas and Qamoum worked with while at the company, Dkt. 13-2 at 5 (Warpas
PIIA, ¶ 7); Dkt. 13-3 at 5 (Qamoum PIIA § 7), or “became acquainted with” while at M3, id.
(Qamoum PIIA § 5). See Ecolab, Inc. v. K.P. Laundry Mach., Inc., 656 F. Supp. 894, 898–99
(S.D.N.Y. 1987) (enforcing non-compete clause that applied “only to customers serviced by the
particular employee within his last twelve months at” the former employer).
Warpas and Qamoum attempt to counter this argument by arguing that M3 serves—and
has served—almost every client in the field, and thus a prohibition on soliciting or working with
those clients would, in effect, preclude them from working in their existing profession. Dkt. 251 at 10. That argument fails, however, for at least two reasons. First, Warpas and Qamoum offer
no evidence that M3 serves—or has served—most, much less all, clients in the field. Second, the
evidence refutes their contention. As explained above, a comparison of the active and inactive
Medical Mile clients and M3’s 2019 clients shows that Medical Mile has worked with at least
four clients who were not also M3 clients. Dkt. 33-2 at 1 (sealed). Even more importantly, M3
acknowledges that Warpas did not work with eight of the overlapping clients while at M3, and
that Qamoum worked with only four of the overlapping clients. Id. Beyond identifying one
additional Medical Mile client as a “significant M3 client during [their] employment,” M3 does
not argue—or suggest—that Qamoum (or Warpas) became “acquainted with” any of the other,
overlapping clients during her tenure at M3. Id.
Warpas and Qamoum also contend that the non-compete covenant “ban[s] the
[e]mployee Defendants from everything in the medical survey space from children’s chewable
vitamins to open heart surgery,” creating a hardship for Warpas and Qamoum that outweighs any
legitimate interest of M3. Dkt. 25-1 at 13. But, by its terms, the covenant does not do that; the
covenant bars Warpas and Qamoum from working only for competitors that provide “the same
or similar product or services for any customer or client” served by Warpas and Qamoum while
at M3. Dkt. 13-2 at 5 (Warpas PIIA § 7); Dkt. 13-3 at 5 (Qamoum PIIA § 7). Moreover, even if
the PIIAs limited the ability of Warpas and Qamoum to work in the healthcare “market research
recruitment” fields for twelve months, neither has offered any evidence showing that they were
unable to work in a similar field during that period. See Restatement of Contracts § 188 illus. 9
(noting that a non-compete contract restricting a research chemist from working “in the
pharmaceutical industry at any place in the country for three years after the termination of his
employment” could be reasonable if the chemist “can find employment as a research chemist
outside of the pharmaceutical industry”); see also Allegis Grp., Inc. v. Jordan, No. 12-2535,
2014 WL 2612604, at *7 (D. Md. 2014) (upholding a contract barring an employee from
working as a salesman and corporate leader in staffing companies providing personnel in
scientific, software, engineering, and administrative roles because the former employee could
apply his skills “in a similar or related industry”). Although the PIIA certainly precluded Warpas
and Qamoum from building a competing business based on the contacts they made at M3, that
restriction seems reasonable.
Although Warpas and Qamoum argue that D.C. “statutory law is trending away” from
enforcing non-compete agreements, Dkt. 25-1 at 13, the Court is, once again, unconvinced. In
support of this contention, Warpas and Qamoum point to a recently passed D.C. statute that bars
such contractual provisions. Id. at 13, 14 n.4; D.C. Act 23-563 (Jan. 11, 2021). But the new law
has yet to take effect and, in any event, applies only to non-compete agreements formed after the
law’s effective date. See D.C. Act 23-563 § 102(b). The “trend” has thus arrived too late to help
them in this case.
The Court, accordingly, concludes that the non-compete and non-solicitation covenants
are enforceable, notwithstanding their nationwide scope.
c. Customer Lists as “Trade Secrets.” Finally, Warpas and Qamoum argue that M3 “has
not even established that the allegedly stolen contact information lists qualify for actual trade
secret protection under [D.C.] law.” Dkt. 25 at 19. Because “M3 acquires customer information
from cold calling, internet searches, and purchasing contact lists from third party data providers
who sell licenses to their databases,” Warpas and Qamoum contend that “this information is
easily ascertainable by the public” and therefore cannot amount to trade secrets. Id.
Setting aside the merits of this argument, M3’s motion for a preliminary injunction does
not sound in trade secret protection but, instead, is premised on breach of contract. Dkt. 26 at 16.
Qamoum agreed to the confidentiality covenant (as did Warpas), and that covenant included
appendices clarifying that vendor and customer lists constitute confidential information for
purposes of the PIIA. Dkt. 13-2 at 8 (Warpas PIIA Appendix); Dkt. 13-3 at 8 (Qamoum PIIA
Appendix). Accordingly, regardless of whether the information at issue meets the common law
or statutory definition of “trade secrets,” Qamoum (and Warpas) agreed to treat the information
as confidential. For the reasons discussed above, it is unclear whether Qamoum’s agreement to
treat vendor and customer lists as confidential adds anything, at least in the context of the
pending motion for a preliminary injunction, to her (and Warpas’s) separate covenants not to
compete and not to solicit M3 customers or clients. But that factual question has no bearing on
Qamoum and Warpas’s legal argument regarding the reach of the confidentiality covenant.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court concludes that M3 has demonstrated a likelihood of
success on the merits with respect to its efforts to enforce the PIIAs’ non-compete covenant
against Warpas and Qamoum and the PIIAs’ non-solicitation covenant against Qamoum.
Although M3 also has enforceable rights against Qamoum under her PIIA’s confidentiality
provision, those rights appear to overlap with the rights created by the non-compete and nonsolicitation covenants in material respects. The Court is unpersuaded, however, that M3 has
shown that Warpas and Qamoum have violated (or are likely to violate) their respective PIIAs by
soliciting M3 panel members.
In order to obtain a preliminary injunction, however, M3 must show more than that it is
likely to succeed on the merits with respect to at least some of its claims. It must also
demonstrate that it is likely to suffer an irreparable injury if denied preliminary relief, and M3’s
motion falters at this step in the inquiry.
As this Court has previously observed, a showing that the movant will likely suffer an
irreparable injury “is the sine qua non for obtaining a preliminary injunction—it is what justifies
the extraordinary remedy of granting relief before the parties have had the opportunity fully to
develop the evidence and fully to present their respective cases.” Calif. Ass’n of Priv.
Postsecondary Schs. v. DeVos, 344 F. Supp. 3d 158, 167 (D.D.C. 2018) (quoting Achagzai v.
Broad. Bd. of Governors, No. 14-cv-768, 2016 WL 471274, at *3–4 (D.D.C. Feb. 8, 2016)). “To
demonstrate irreparable injury, a plaintiff must show that it will suffer harm that is ‘more than
simply irretrievable; it must also be serious in terms of its effect on the plaintiff.’” Hi–Tech
Pharmacal Co. v. FDA, 587 F. Supp. 2d 1, 11 (D.D.C. 2008) (quoting Gulf Oil Corp. v. Dept. of
Energy, 514 F. Supp. 1019, 1026 (D.D.C. 1981)). As framed in an oft-quoted passage from the
D.C. Circuit, “the injury must be both certain and great; it must be actual and not theoretical.”
Wisc. Gas Co. v. FERC, 758 F.2d 669, 674 (D.C. Cir. 1985). Moreover, an injury that is both
likely and substantial is not enough, if that injury can be remedied through “compensatory or
other corrective relief . . . available at a later date.” Va. Petroleum Jobbers Ass’n v. FPC, 259
F.2d 921, 925 (D.C. Cir. 1958). Thus, “[r]ecoverable monetary loss may constitute irreparable
harm only where the loss threatens the very existence of the movant’s business.” Wisc. Gas Co.,
758 F.2d at 674. Finally, “conclusory assertions of potential loss” will not suffice; rather, the
movant “bears the burden of presenting ‘specific details regarding the extent to which [its]
business will suffer,’” Calif. Ass’n of Priv. Postsecondary Schs., 344 F. Supp. 3d at 171 (quoting
Nat’l Ass’n of Mortg. Brokers v. Bd. of Governors of the Fed. Res. Syst., 773 F. Supp. 2d 151,
181 (D.D.C. 2011)), and of linking that injury to the specific legal claim upon which the movant
is likely to prevail.
Because “[i]njury to . . . goodwill is not easily measurable in monetary terms,” courts will
often find that the breach of a covenant not to compete by a former employee who contacts the
employer’s customers “supports a finding of irreparable injury.” 11A C. Wright & A. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 2948.1 (3d ed. Apr. 2021 update). But that conclusion is far
from inevitable because “[t]he loss of business opportunities, market share, and customer
goodwill are typically considered to be economic harms,” and “[i]t is well settled in this [c]ircuit
that ‘economic loss does not, in and of itself, constitute irreparable harm.’” Air Transp. Ass’n of
Am., Inc. v. Export-Import Bank of the U.S., 840 F. Supp. 2d 327, 335 (D.D.C. 2012) (quoting
Wisconsin Gas, 758 F.2d at 674). Thus, to show that loss of goodwill or loss of customers
constitutes an irreparable injury, the movant must show that its ongoing injury is grave—if not
existential—or that the loss is “incalculable.” See Hosp. Staffing Sols., LLC v. Reyes, 736 F.
Supp. 2d 192, 199 (D.D.C. 2010) (“A number of [decisions] in this Circuit have declined to issue
preliminary injunctions to enforce restrictive covenants against former employees where the
employer failed to show that the economic losses from the breach are either incalculable or so
substantial as to threaten the employer’s ability to stay in business.”); see also Smith, Bucklin, 83
F.3d at 481; Ajilon Prof’l Staffing, PLC v. Kubicki, 503 F. Supp. 2d 358, 362 (D.D.C. 2007). But
see Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Wertz, 298 F. Supp. 2d 27, 34 (D.D.C. 2002)
(noting that it is, at times, “impossible to calculate the investments that would have flowed from
[those] customers’ accounts”).
Although the PIIAs stipulate that a breach of any of the relevant covenants would
constitute “irreparable harm,” Dkt. 13-2 at 4–5 (Warpas PIIA § 4–5, 7); Dkt. 13-3 at 4–5
(Qamoum PIIA § 4–5, 7), these provisions do not resolve the matter. In this circuit, “a
contractual provision that states that the company has suffered irreparable harm if the employee
breaches the covenant and that the employee agrees to be preliminarily enjoined . . . is an
insufficient prop” to support an injunction. Smith, Bucklin, 83 F.3d at 481 (citing Ellis, 565 A.2d
at 619 n.14). Thus, the Court cannot rely on a contractual diagnosis of irreparable harm, but
must instead assess the risk of such injury based on the facts of the case.
Although the Court permitted M3 to take limited discovery regarding its asserted,
irreparable injury, M3 has failed to make the required evidentiary showing. To start, M3 does
not argue—nor could it argue—that Warpas and Qamoum have engaged in any conduct that
poses a fundamental threat to M3’s business. After over 18 months of operation, Medical Mile
has eight active clients, Dkt. 33-1 at 1 (sealed), as compared to M3, which is “probably” the
largest “company in [the same] space” and which has “thousands of clients” and “millions” of
panelists, Dkt. 34 at 62–63 (Warpas).6 Moreover, although M3 maintains that Warpas and
Qamoum’s solicitation of M3 clients poses “an immediate, unquantifiable future threat to [M3’s]
business,” Dkt. 24-1 at 27, that conclusory assertion is unsupported by any evidence or
explanation. If Warpas and Qamoum are responsible for M3’s loss of fourteen contracts to
Medical Mile, for example, it is unclear why that loss could not be quantified and remedied
through an award of money damages. Similarly, if some of those clients have left M3 never to
return, the loss might be greater, but it is still quantifiable—or at least is presumptively
quantifiable in the absence of any evidence or explanation offered by M3 to the contrary.
M3 also posits that it has suffered reputational damage and will continue to suffer
reputation damage in the absence of injunctive relief, because at least one M3 client raised
concerns about Qamoum’s emails. That client wrote, as follows:
Here’s another one I’ve never had an exchange with that just blasted to about a
dozen people here. I get that M3 can’t keep employees from leaving or going to
Although M3 notes that it “did not testify that it has ‘hundreds of thousands of clients,’” Dkt.
26 at 19 n.13, it has not contested Warpas’s description of its large size, Dkt. 34 at 62–63
work for competition, but if this person was able to walk with your contact
databased, someone may want to do some competitive intelligence to make sure
they didn’t also walk with your panel.
Dkt. 24-6 at 48. According to M3’s Chief Executive Officer, Anton Richter, this communication
reflects the irreparable, reputational harm caused by Warpas and Qamoum’s actions. Dkt. 24-3
at 9-10 (Richter Dep. 157:14–158:9). As Richter put it, “the irreparable harm there is that the
client even wrote . . . that we need to take better care of our databases and [should] stop previous
employees from accessing that data and approaching them.” Id. at 10 (Richter Dep. 158:3–7).
And, although Richter did not identify any particular panelist, he also testified that some
panelists “complained about unsolicited contact by the defendants.” Id. at 11 (Richter Dep.
These communications undoubtedly came to M3 as an unwelcome surprise, but neither
the communication quoted above nor any other evidence offered by M3 shows that the company
has suffered or is likely to suffer irreparable reputational harm. To the contrary, the quoted
communication appears to reflect concern for M3’s well-being (and not any concern that the
client might have about continuing to do business with the company). Indeed, if anyone suffered
reputational harm, it was Qamoum (who is most clearly the target of the client’s annoyance).
And, although Richter expressed concern that any panelists contacted by Warpas or Qamoum
might be concerned about M3’s ability to maintain “secure control” over their personal
information, he conceded that no panelist raised such a concern in “as many words.” Id. at 11
(Richter Dep. 159:1–12). Rather, all he could say is that some complained that they had been
contacted by Warpas or Qamoum. Id. (Richter Dep. 159:13–14).
Richter also testified that M3 will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary
injunction because it has “invest[ed] significant amounts of money, million[s] of dollars in
actually building our communities and our panels so that we can actually conduct surveys,” and,
therefore, “having the ability to identify . . . friendly panelists” will confer a “significant” and
unfair “advantage” on Warpas and Qamoum. Id. at 12–13 (Richter Dep. 160:12–161:14). The
misappropriation and disclosure of M3’s lists of panelists might well constitute irreparable harm.
See Billingham, 315 F. Supp. 3d at 432–34 (explaining that once confidential information is
disclosed, it loses its confidential nature, creating irreparable harm); Hosp. Staffing, 736 F. Supp.
2d at 200 (same); Morgan Stanley DW Inc. v. Rothe, 150 F. Supp. 2d 67, 77 (D.D.C. 2001)
(same). The problem with M3’s argument, however, is that the company has failed to
demonstrate that it is likely to prevail on the merits in showing that Warpas and/or Qamoum
misappropriated M3’s lists of panelists. Both Warpas and Qamoum, for their part, have denied
that “anyone from Medical Mile use[d] any information obtained directly or indirectly from M3
for the purpose of identifying potential panelists.” Dkt. 34 at 19; see also id. at 67. More
importantly, at least at this stage of the proceeding, M3 has failed to offer any evidence that
would permit the Court to find that Warpas or Qamoum stole M3’s customer lists. Rather, the
only relevant evidence is Richter’s testimony that some unidentified number of panelists
complained about receiving unsolicited communications from Medical Mile, and the redacted
emails that Warpas and Qamoum sent out—some of which, at least conceivably, were sent to
panelists. This evidence is less convincing than M3’s evidence that Warpas and Qamoum
contacted M3 clients, and, any uncertainty must be resolved against M3, which bears the burden
Finally, the Court notes that the risk that M3 will suffer irreparable injury in the absence
of a preliminary injunction is mitigated by the passage of time. Warpas was terminated by M3 in
July 2019, and Qamoum quit a month later. Dkt. 1 at 8, 9 (Compl. ¶¶ 46, 51); Dkt. 24-2 at 27.
As a result, their non-compete and non-solicitation covenants would have expired many months
ago, were it not for the extension for “any period of violation” and “any period of time required
for [M3] to obtain enforcement.” Dkt. 13-2 at 5 (Warpas PIIA § 5, 7) (emphasis omitted); Dkt.
13-3 at 5 (Qamoum PIIA § 5, 7). Warpas testified, moreover, that he and Qamoum are not
“engaged in any . . . outreach for new clients at this point” and that they put a “halt and
standstill” to their solicitation efforts “to see what happens with this case.” Dkt. 34 at 40–41
(Warpas). To be sure, Medical Mile continues to provide services to at least a handful of M3
clients, Dkt. 31 at 6 (sealed), and Warpas expressed a desire to re-institute their business
development efforts in the near future, Dkt. 34 at 41 (Warpas). But, as explained above, the
Court is unpersuaded that any losses relating to Medical Mile’s current work for M3 clients is
unquantifiable, and the Court cannot conclude that the risk that Warpas and Qamoum will again
reach out to M3 clients “is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable
relief to prevent irreparable harm.” Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v. England, 454 F.3d
290, 297 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (emphasis, citation, and quotation marks omitted). Given the Court’s
conclusions set forth above regarding M3’s likelihood of success on the merits, Warpas and
Qamoum would need to think long and hard before repeating their (apparent) mistakes of the
past, and, to the extent they have paused their efforts “to see what happens with this case,” Dkt.
34 at 41 (Warpas), they now have good reason to proceed, if at all, with caution.
The Court, accordingly, concludes that M3 has failed to carry its burden of demonstrating
that preliminary relief is necessary to prevent an irreparable loss. If Warpas and Qamoum
change course, however, and once again approach M3 clients (or panelists) on behalf of Medical
Mile, or if discovery reveals additional and more concrete evidence of ongoing, wrongful
conduct, M3 can return to the Court and seek emergency relief at that time.
Balance of Equities and Public Interest
Given the Court’s conclusion that M3 has yet to demonstrate that it will suffer irreparable
injury in the absence of preliminary relief, the remaining two factors—the balance of equities
and the public interest—merit only brief mention. M3 alleges that the harm of an injunction to
Defendants “pales by comparison” to the risk to M3 absent such relief, because the injunction
would leave Warpas and Qamoum free to “advertise in general,” “customers and clients [with
whom Warpas and Qamoum did not work while at M3] will be free to choose to take their
business to” Medical Mile, and, in any event, Defendants brought the harm upon themselves.
Dkt. 24-1 at 29. In the Court’s view, M3 understates the harm than an injunction would inflict
on Warpas, Qamoum, and Medical Mile (and its clients), and overstates the harm that M3 is
likely to suffer in the absence of preliminary relief. The Court, accordingly, cannot conclude that
the balance of harm tips in M3’s favor. Similarly, although the public has an interest in
enforcing “contractual agreements” as “necessary for free and fair competition,” id. at 30
(citation and quotation marks omitted), the Court is unpersuaded that the public has an interest in
granting M3 the relief it seeks within the timeframe it proposes. Particularly given the interests
of third parties in receiving stable, predictable services, the Court concludes that the public
interest would be served by addressing the myriad issues in this case with a more complete
record and with more complete briefing by the parties.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court concludes that M3 has not demonstrated that it is
entitled to a preliminary injunction at this time, and the Court will therefore deny M3’s motion
The Court, accordingly, will GRANT Medical Mile’s motion to dismiss, Dkt. 10, and
will DENY M3’s motion for a preliminary injunction, Dkt. 24, without prejudice. The Court
GRANTS M3 leave to amend its complaint as to claims against Warpas on or before June 18,
/s/ Randolph D. Moss
RANDOLPH D. MOSS
United States District Judge
Date: June 4, 2021
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?