Tag Archives: cease & desist letters

Court Finds Potential Liability For Sending Cease And Desist Letter

As in-house counsel or the human resources director, you have probably received a frantic phone call from the business folks telling you that a former employee disclosed trade secrets or violated a restrictive covenant and demanding that immediate action be taken. After gathering the facts, the next step is usually to send a cease and desist letter to the former employee, and oftentimes to the former employee’s new employer. Such letters generally set forth the applicable confidentiality or non-compete restrictions as well as the former employee’s offending conduct. As my colleague Kara Maciel recently noted in her blog posting, Cease and Desist Letters Enjoy An Absolute Privilege From Libel Claims, these letters, if properly written, may be protected from libel claims by the judicial proceedings privilege. A recent case, however, stands as a reminder that there may still be liability for writing an “overly zealous” – – and potentially inaccurate – – cease and desist letter. As this case out of the Southern District of New York demonstrates, it is critical to do your homework before sending (or having outside counsel send) such a letter, to the new employer.

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