Earlier this month, the Texarkana Court of Appeals took the extraordinary measure of affirming an award of plaintiff attorney’s fees against a defendant for willful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets in an amount that was ultimately more than 50 times higher than the plaintiff’s actual awarded damages.

Samuel D. Orbison worked for an oil and gas company, Ma-Tex Rope Company, Inc., for five years and signed an employment agreement containing a non-competition agreement, a non-disclosure agreement, and a non-solicitation agreement. During his tenure with Ma-Tex, Orbison became the coordinator of Ma-Tex’s recertification department until he resigned and began working for its competitor, American Pipe Inspections, Inc. (API), in the same position he had filled with Ma-Tex. When Ma-Tex learned that Orbison had begun soliciting recertification work from Ma-Tex’s customers, it sued Orbison and API for, among other claims, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets.
Continue Reading In Trade Secret Misappropriation Case, Texas Court of Appeals Affirms Attorney’s Fees Award Approaching $220,000 where Actual Damages Were $4,000

On Monday, January 29th, Faraday & Future Inc., the electric car manufacturer founded by Chinese billionaire and entrepreneur Jia Yueting, filed a one-count Defend Trade Secrets Act complaint against Evelozcity, Inc., an electric car manufacturer that was recently created by Faraday & Future’s former CFO and CTO.  The case is Faraday & Future Inc. v. Evelozcity Inc., 18-cv-00737, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Western Division).
Continue Reading Start-Up Car Companies Clash in Electrifying Trade Secrets Case

An employment agreement covenant prohibiting solicitation of co-employees, but not indicating what solicitations were prohibited, has been held to be invalid.

Status of the case.  A multi-count complaint filed in the D.C. District Court charged two former employees of the plaintiff with breaches of contract and tort violations.  The defendants moved to dismiss.   The court held that some of the
Continue Reading Non-Solicitation Covenant That Is Silent As To Its Scope May Be Unenforceable

Notwithstanding a forum-selection provision in the parties’ consulting agreement designating the Northern District of Georgia as the place for litigating non-competition and non-solicitation covenants disputes, a Georgia federal judge transferred covenant violation litigation to the Middle District of Florida. Also, the judge explained why he thought that an arbitration clause was unenforceable, but he said that the Florida court should
Continue Reading Georgia Federal Court Disregards Forum Selection Clause In Non-Compete And Non-Solicitation Covenant Dispute

Contractual choice of law provisions often seek to apply the law of the state that, when applied by a court to the contract at issue, is most likely to result in favorable interpretations, application, and/or enforcement of those provisions in the contract most valued by the contracting parties. However, when the law chosen is of a state different than the
Continue Reading New Ninth Circuit Case Aids Departing Employees In Non-Compete and Non-Solicit Disputes Involving Race To Judgment

By Bob Stevensand Daniel Hart

As we have discussed on this blog before, on May 11, 2011, Georgia reissued its new Restrictive Covenant Act (the “New Act”). The New Act reflected a fundamental change in Georgia’s law regarding restrictive covenants because it permitted Georgia courts to “blue pencil” (i.e., partially enforce) restrictive covenants that otherwise would be overbroad and

Continue Reading Georgia Court Blue Pencils / Rewrites Overbroad Restrictive Covenant

A recent Indiana Court of Appeals opinion, designated as non-precedential, discussed that state’s law concerning non-competition agreements. Most significant, the court upheld a commitment not to solicit the employer’s current or recent customers for two years even though the covenant contains no geographical limitation. However, provisions precluding any “contact with” such customers, and forbidding acceptance of “referrals of” them, were “blue penciled.” The

Continue Reading Indiana Court Upholds A Covenant Not To Solicit Recent Customers, But Prohibitions Against Contact or Accepting Referrals With Such Customers Are Stricken

The question has been raised:  What is the effective date of Georgia’s new non-compete statute, O.C.G.A. § 13-8-50 et seq.?

The statute provides that it goes into effect on the day after the passage of an enabling Constitutional amendment. 

This Act shall become effective on the day following the ratification at the time of the 2010 general election of an amendment to

Continue Reading Now or Later? Debate Emerges Regarding Effective Date of Recent Georgia Constitutional Amendment

ING Life Ins. and Annuity Co. v. Gitterman, Slip Copy, 2010 WL 3283526 (DNJ August 18, 2010)

Plaintiffs ING Life Insurance and Annuity Company (“ILIAC”) and ING Financial Advisors (“IFA”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs” or “ING”), sought to enjoin defendants, all of whom were former employees of ING, from soliciting clients to withdraw certain accounts from ING, pending the resolution of

Continue Reading “Circumstantial” Proof of Solicitation Found Insufficient by District of New Jersey

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently held that a former employer’s price quotations to prospective customers were not trade secrets under Oklahoma law because they did not contain a confidentiality provision, but the former employee who took advantage of those quotations on behalf of his new employer did violate his non-compete covenant.  Southwest Stainless, LP v.

Continue Reading Breach of Contract Claim May Succeed Where a Misappropriation Claim Fails