cases don't typically make it to court and are settled though a mediator (not via a judge...common misconception) small start up guys cant afford to go through the ringer and attorney fees, knuckle under and give up, that's not "winning in court", although that is a common legal tactic. It's all about money and who has more.
IF the other guys "lost" it's not due to the fact they started their own business. It's because a) they contacted customers while still under the employment (or ruse they were) of the original company, b) stole a customer list and went down it in alphabetical order systematically TRYING to steal the guys clients.
If the original employer can prove malicious intent to harm his livelihood, he has a case. But he can't keep you from starting a business on your own.
Bear in mind this isn't legal advice, because Im not a lawyer, and some state laws can vary (I did previously say in MOST states) and if it's something that your worried about: 1) I might be a good idea NOT to do it 2) what harm could it do by consulting a lawyer directly?
I mean it's maybe $2500 to retain a decent lawyer, he can do ALL sorts of things, set up your articles of organization, draft up initial contracts and a dozen other things I cant even think of that would be useful.
In fact, that's the best advice go find a lawyer (they are only expensive if you HAVE to go to court, usually pretty reasonable BEFORE court) he/she will tell you exactly what you should and shouldn't do.
I'm almost certain that choice will set you up for success for years to come, and if you should ever need a lawyer? Well you already have one!