Employee Mobility/Corporate Raiding Prosecution and Defense
Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition and "Employment Mobility"
When a Company hires its competitor’s employees – whether it is a single talented executive, a salesperson or an entire department or division – the competitor often feels threatened and claims of breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, trade secret misappropriation often result. Demands for injunctive relief, immediate orders that prevent or restrict a company from doing business are common in these cases.
The stakes are often high. For all involved, emotions can run rampant. The ability of workers to pursue their livelihoods, the ability of businesses to freely compete for customers, and the rights of companies to protect their methods, know-how and irreplaceable customer information and goodwill are often at risk. Whether in defense or prosecution, success depends on knowledgeable and aggressive counsel.
The Trade Secret/Employee Mobility Team at Weintraub Tobin has deep experience in defending and prosecuting these claims. Our attorneys have successfully defended and prosecuted trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition and “corporate raiding” cases involving hundreds of millions of dollars in claimed damages. Our attorneys regularly obtain and defend against the issuance of injunctive relief in these cases.
The team has walked this road before and knows the terrain.
- North American Title V. Liberty Title, et al. – Our attorneys obtained a defense verdict for a title company founder after a 12 week jury trial. The plaintiff claimed that the hiring of dozens of its employees had been caused by breaches of fiduciary duty by its officers and executives and resulted in a massive misappropriation of its Trades Secrets. Plaintiff sought damages in excess of $20,000,000.
- Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics v. Capstone – Our attorneys assisted with the successful defense of a start-up orthopedic company against trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition claims brought by a large national company.
- Fafco v. Energy Laboratories, et al. – Our attorneys obtained an injunction in Federal District Court against a former employee and his new employer, enjoining and prohibiting the use of his former employer’s information.
- Comerica Bank v.Commerical Capital Bank, et al. – Our attorneys defended 21 former employees accused of misappropriation of trade secrets, conspiracy and unfair competition. Our attorneys promptly obtained injunctive relief under its counter claims, and obtained supeseadeas relief from the appellate court modifying the injunctive relief ordered by the trial court.
- Gateway C.C. v. O’Leary – Our attorneys obtained preliminary injunction on behalf of a charter school against four former employees who were attempting to start up a competing charter school.
- LonWays, LLC v. Phinneys – Our attorneys assisted with obtaining preliminary injunction in Nevada against former distributors of a multi-level marketing company after a two-day “mini-trial.”
In addition to the above cases, Weintraub Tobin also has experience in the following trade secret cases:
- Served as lead counsel for a design company which was sued for misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information. Plaintiff requested more than $2 million in damages. After a two week trial, the jury awarded just $47 thousand in damages.
- Obtained dismissal of a lawsuit against former employee of plaintiff company in an action for trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition involving Fortune 100 companies. Dismissal was secured based on favorable evidentiary rulings during a two month jury trial.
- Served as lead counsel for the world’s largest food manufacturing company which was sued in state court in Texas for trade secret misappropriation, interference with contract and related claims. Plaintiff requested more than $330 million in damages. After more than two weeks of trial, the jury awarded approximately $1 million, well below the pre-trial settlement offers.
The Trade Secret/Employment Team is also deeply experienced in counseling companies in advance of such employee acquisitions and departures to reduce the likelihood of such litigation and develop policies and practices.