Biever, Drees & Nordell v. Coutts – Case Brief Summary (North Dakota)

In Biever, Drees & Nordell v. Coutts, 305 N.W.2d 33, 38 (N.D. 1981), the Court held an accounting firm had a right to expect an employee would not solicit clients of the firm for himself while he was employed by the firm and the employee had an obligation to the firm not to do so, notwithstanding there was no written contractual provision to that effect.

The Court did so, relying on the North Dakota Administrative Code § 3-04-05-01 (since repealed) prohibiting an accountant from seeking additional engagements from a client without first notifying the referring accountant.

The Court held the provision of the Administrative Code "clearly sets forth what the firm had a right to expect from Coutts, i.e., that he would not solicit clients of the firm for himself while he was employed by the firm." Id. at 36.