Non-Compete/Trade Secret Litigation

Richman Greer represents employers and employees in cases involving breaches of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, breach of fiduciary duty, theft of trade secrets, misappropriation of confidential information and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Richman Greer attorneys have successfully represented clients in numerous temporary injunction hearings as well as trials and final hearings in arbitration actions, and have counseled clients on strategies intended to avoid litigation altogether.

Featured Experience

1The firm has successfully represented more than one hundred financial advisors with respect to alleged violations of non-compete, non-solicitation and trade secret violations when they are hired by financial institutions from competing firms. Some cases have resolved before lawsuits were filed, while others involved defending claims seeking injunctions and monetary damages in court and arbitration proceedings. Claims typically alleged that a former employee has solicited customers in violation of contractual restrictive covenants and improper retention and use of confidential or trade secret information, and alleged damages in the multi-million dollar range.
2Successfully prosecuted clients' claims against former employer for non-payment of earned commissions. Also successfully defended clients against former employer's claims that clients violated non-competition agreements and misappropriated trade secrets. Obtained ruling from court that bifurcated the case to proceed to trial on clients' claims of non-payment of contractual commissions before continued litigation of former employer's claims. Prevailed at trial on clients' contractual claims, nullifying the claims of the former employer. Clients were awarded damages of $454,000 in unpaid compensation, with interest, in addition to attorney's fees and costs of $1,181,000.
3Prominent marketing firm initiated suit in state court against two former employees, both officers, for injunctive relief for breach of a non-compete agreement and for misappropriation and theft of trade secrets, and against the successor employer, for conspiracy to misappropriate confidential information. Simultaneously, both former employees commenced an arbitration proceeding against the company claiming close to $5M in damages for an alleged unpaid equity position in the company. An investigation of one of the officers uncovered a suspicious transaction whereby the officer apparently realized personal profit while employed by a public company. That finding caused the former officer to immediately settle with the company in both state court proceeding and arbitration. Thereafter, the arbitration was resolved at mediation with the other former officer.
4Firm achieved a significant victory for two orthopedic implant sales representatives who left the employ of one local distributor for an opportunity at a competitor. The former distributor sued the firm’s clients seeking to enjoin them from working for the new distributor based on claims that they violated the terms of certain non-compete agreements. The firm denied all allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the clients and asserted counterclaims. While the president of the former distributor was under oath at deposition, Richman Greer was able to obtain key admissions and identified evidence which resulted in the dismissal of all claims with prejudice and a release of the clients from the obligations of their non-compete agreements six months prior to the expiration of the term.
5Prosecuted claims of theft of trade secrets and tortious interference against former independent contractor. Settlement after entry of injunction.
6Represented large call-center client in prosecuting claims for theft of trade secrets, violation of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements against former executive. Settled on eve of injunction hearing.
7Obtained seven-figure award following bench trial on former employees’ claims against former employer for breach of employment agreements for failure to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in earned commissions. Representation also included successful defense of counterclaims by former employer for alleged violations of non-compete agreements and theft of trade secrets. Additional damages included over $1 million in attorney’s fees and costs to client.
8Represented national employer in claim for breach of confidentiality provisions of employment and severance agreements. Settlement after entry of injunction.
9Represented former employees of a national dental supply company who were hired by another national dental supply company to assist them in avoiding breaches of their non-compete agreements.
10Defended two former employees of Charles Schwab against claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of non-solicitation agreements. Served as counsel in temporary injunction hearing held in federal court in Fort Myers, Florida where the court denied Charles Schwab’s request for a temporary injunction. Defended similar claims in FINRA arbitration proceeding, which settled just prior to final hearing.
11Successfully defended two former employees against claims by Neuberger Berman for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of non-solicitation agreements. Neuberger Berman sought temporary injunctive relief in federal court. Neuberger Berman’s request for injunctive relief was denied after hearing.
12Successfully defended three former employees against claims by Northern Trust, NA and Northern Trust Securities, Inc. (“Northern Trust”) for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of non-solicitation agreements, tortious interference, and related claims. Northern Trust sought temporary injunctive relief in court. Northern Trust’s request for injunctive relief was denied after hearing.
13Successfully defended former employees of a technology company in a temporary injunction proceeding wherein the former employer alleged theft of trade secrets and violations of restrictive covenants.
14Represented Coverage One Insurance Group, LLC (“Coverage One”) in an action for temporary and permanent injunctive relief, and damages, against 4 former employees who Coverage One contended violated their post-employment restrictions by, among other things, working for a competing business and raiding Coverage One’s current employees. Coverage One achieved a confidential settlement, avoiding the hearing on the Motion for Temporary Injunction.
15The firm represents Ms. Iwanowski and Credit Suisse Securities (USA), LLC. Ms. Iwanowski, a financial advisor, resigned from SunTrust Bank to join Credit Suisse. This federal court case was initiated by SunTrust Bank to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction and damages against the defendants for alleged breaches of non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions, alleged misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference with advantageous business relationships and contracts. During an emergency hearing, the firm argued that before joining Credit Suisse, Ms. Iwanowski was a registered representative of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc. (“STIS”). STIS is an affiliated broker-dealer company of SunTrust Bank (“Sun Trust”). STIS is also a signatory to an agreement entered into by broker-dealers and independent financial firms (“Protocol” agreement), which allows a registered representative who moves between Protocol firms to retain a list consisting of the names and contact information of clients she has serviced for the firm (a “Protocol List”), and to immediately begin soliciting the clients on her Protocol List on behalf of her new firm, regardless of any post-employment restrictions that would otherwise prevent her from soliciting these clients. The express aim of the Protocol is to further customer choice with respect to their registered representatives. Here, Iwanowski moved from one Protocol firm (STIS) to another (Credit Suisse). With the Protocol in place, SunTrust’s claims hinged on the inapplicability of the Protocol to Ms. Iwanowki. Judge King denied SunTrust’s motion for injunctive relief finding that SunTrust failed to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. Thereafter, the parties jointly stipulated to the dismissal of the federal court action. The matter is scheduled for final hearing in FINRA arbitration in late 2016.
16Defended a former employee of Charles Schwab & Company, Inc. at an evidentiary hearing in federal court against a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of a non-solicitation agreement.
17Defended seven former employees of international investment firm against claims of misappropriation of trade secret, breach of non-solicitation agreements and breach of fiduciary duty. Served as co-counsel in temporary injunction hearing held in local court in San Juan, Puerto Rico (where court denied firm’s request for a temporary injunction) and ultimately settled similar claims in FINRA arbitration proceeding for nuisance value.