April 30, 2020
A recent decision issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, presents a stark example of what can result when a defendant accused of trade secret misappropriation is careless in preserving electronically stored information (“ESI”) relevant to the lawsuit.
Silicon Valley-based autonomous car startup WeRide Corp. and WeRide Inc. (collectively, “WeRide”) sued rival self-driving car company AllRide.AI Inc. (“AllRide”), along with two of its former executives and AllRide’s related companies, asserting claims for misappropriation under the federal Defendant Trade Secrets Act and the California Uniform Trade Secrets Code, along with numerous other claims. WeRide secured a preliminary injunction from the Court, directing AllRide not to use or disclose WeRide’s confidential information and trade secrets, and specifically directing defendants not to destroy evidence.
April 10, 2020
When Massachusetts enacted the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (“MNCA”) in mid-2018, some commentators suggested that the statute reflected an anti-employer tilt in public policy. But, we advised that sophisticated employers advised by knowledgeable counsel could navigate the restrictions set forth in the MNCA. As reported here, the May 2019 decision from the District of Massachusetts in Nuvasive Inc. v. Day and Richard, 19-cv-10800 (D. Mass. May 29, 2019) (Nuvasive I) supported our initial reading of the MNCA. The First Circuit’s April 8, 2020 decision in Nuvasive, Inc. v. Day, No. 19-1611 (1st Cir. April 8, 2020) (Nuvasive II),which upheld the District Court’s decision, provides further evidence that Massachusetts courts will still enforce contractual choice of law provisions when considering requests to enforce certain restrictive covenants in employment contracts. Indeed, in Nuvasive II, the First Circuit concluded that the MNCA, by its terms, does not apply to non-solicitation agreements, and that the Massachusetts employee, Day, had not demonstrated a legal basis for the District Court to ignore the Delaware choice of law clause in his employment agreement.
March 23, 2020
For any attorney about to rush into New York State court to seek an injunction or temporary relief with regard to a violation of a non-compete or other restrictive covenant, or with regard to misappropriation of trade secrets, think again about venue.
By Administrative Order, dated March 22, 2020, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks has decreed that until further notice, New York State courts are accepting no filings unless the filings concern an emergency matter (as defined in the Order’s Exhibit A). Neither restrictive covenant nor trade secret matters count as “emergencies.”
March 17, 2020
On January 9, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) held a public workshop in Washington, DC to examine whether there is a sufficient legal basis and empirical economic support to promulgate a Commission rule that would restrict the use of non-compete clauses in employment contracts. At the conclusion of the workshop, the FTC solicited public comments from interested parties on various issues, including business justifications for non-competes, effect of non-competes on labor-market participants and efficacy of state law for addressing harms arising from non-competes.
March 4, 2020
We encourage our readers to visit Workforce Bulletin, the newest blog from our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green (EBG).
Workforce Bulletin will feature a range of cutting-edge issues—such as sexual harassment, diversity and inclusion, pay equity, artificial intelligence in the workplace, cybersecurity, and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on human resources—that are of concern to employers across all industries. EBG’s full announcement is here.
February 25, 2020
The Illinois legislature is once again setting its sights on covenants not to compete. In 2016, Illinois enacted the “Illinois Freedom to Work Act,” prohibiting employers from entering into covenants not to compete with “low wage” employees. In February 2020, Illinois legislators filed four bills targeting covenants not to compete for all Illinois employees.
December 17, 2019
A New London Connecticut Superior Court jury awarded an $839,423 verdict in November 2019, involving theft of trade secrets for a $70 million U.S. Navy underwater drone project. This case, LBI, Inc. v. Sparks, et al., KNL-cv12-6018984-S, is a classic example of the blatant theft of an employer’s confidential and proprietary information that is so easily traceable to electronic files – and the costly consequences for the defendant employer’s complicity in that trade secret misappropriation.
December 12, 2019
Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2019 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Connecticut,” a Practice Note co-authored with David S. Poppick and Carol J. Faherty.
See below to download it in PDF format—following is an excerpt:
November 21, 2019
A recent decision in Edward D. Jones & Co., LP v. John Kerr (S.D.In. 19-cv-03810 Nov. 14, 2019), illustrates the unique challenges that broker-dealers may face when enforcing post-employment covenants that prohibit former registered representatives (“RRs”) from soliciting clients. Edward Jones sued Kerr, a former RR, to enforce an employment contract that required him to return confidential information upon termination and prohibited him from “directly or indirectly” soliciting any Edward Jones’ client for a period of one year. Although Kerr did not challenge the validity of the confidentiality and non-solicitation provisions, the court denied Edward Jones’ request for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) because it found that RRs who change firms have a duty to notify clients of material changes to their accounts, which includes changes of employment. The Kerr opinion provides a useful primer for financial firms seeking to enforce post-employment restrictive covenants.
November 14, 2019
Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2019 update to “Preparing for Non-Compete Litigation,” a Practice Note I co-authored with Zachary Jackson.
See below to download the full Note – following is an excerpt:
Non-compete litigation is typically fast-paced and expensive. An employer must act quickly when it suspects that an employee or former employee is violating a non-compete agreement (also referred to as a non-competition agreement or non-compete). It is critical to confirm that there is sufficient factual and legal support before initiating legal action. Filing a complaint for monetary damages or a request for an injunction can backfire if an employer is not prepared with sufficient evidence to support its request. This Note discusses the steps an employer can take to best position itself for successful enforcement of a non-compete and the strategic considerations involved with initiating non-compete litigation. In particular, it discusses: