Trade Secret & Restrictive Covenant Litigation
Goldberg Kohn’s Labor & Employment Group has vast experience with all aspects of restrictive covenant and trade secret counseling and litigation. Many companies’ most valuable assets involve the protection of client relationships and proprietary information. Therefore, Goldberg Kohn is regularly called upon to counsel clients on the most practical and effective means of protecting its assets through the negotiation of key employment agreements containing restrictive covenants and confidentiality agreements, the establishment and enforcement of confidentiality and ethics policies, and the creation of mechanisms to keep truly trade secret information a secret. Often the protection of these valuable assets involves the enforcement of such agreements and policies through emergency litigation and other court battles that occur throughout the country. Where the firm can achieve its client’s goal through strategic negotiation rather than litigation, Goldberg Kohn has considerable experience in negotiating the terms that are necessary to protect its client’s rights.
The firm is also called upon when its clients hire new employees and are faced with a competitor’s threatened or actual emergency litigation. With Goldberg Kohn's counseling and litigation experience protecting its clients’ assets, the firm is well-positioned to counsel clients on whether their competitor’s claim is meritorious and on the best means of defending against aggressive litigation.
- In federal court and before an NASD arbitration panel, Goldberg Kohn obtained emergency and permanent injunctive relief on behalf of a public company bank enforcing its confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition agreements against a departing financial consultant and his new employer, also a public company financial services company. After a successful multi-day arbitration hearing where the firm obtained its requested injunctive relief, it obtained a significant six-figure settlement on behalf of the client through NASD mediation.
- When a client learned that a former employee had sent key confidential information to his personal email account in the days leading up to his voluntary departure, and that the former employee had begun soliciting customers whose information was contained in the emails, Goldberg Kohn successfully obtained a temporary restraining order against the former employee requiring the immediate return of the information and subsequently negotiated a favorable resolution to protect our client’s interests.
- The firm represented a major Chicago financial services firm in enforcing non-compete and non-solicitation agreements against a former senior corporate officer and two former key employees. After conducting an intensive investigation, delivering an eight-count complaint to the former employees and their new employer, and holding a series of high-level negotiations with the threat of litigation on the table, Goldberg Kohn was able to negotiate a multi-million dollar settlement for the client without having to incur the costs of litigation.
- The firm represented a public company that suspected a senior executive sales person of violating a non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreement. Goldberg Kohn obtained a forensic copy of the executive’s laptop and discovered that the executive had violated the agreement by soliciting key employees to work for the competitor and submitting proposals to prospective clients for the competitor, all while still being employed and compensated by the firm's client. Goldberg Kohn filed a six-count complaint alleging breach of fiduciary duty, breach of a covenant not to solicit employees, breach of covenant not to compete, and tortious interference claims and inducement of a breach of fiduciary duty claim against the competitor and its president. After successfully defeating a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, the firm obtained a six-figure settlement on behalf of its client and an extension of the restrictive covenants for a duration beginning with the settlement.
- After defeating a motion for temporary restraining order, Goldberg Kohn successfully obtained summary judgment on a complaint alleging a breach of a covenant-not-to-compete, breach of a confidentiality agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract, and violations of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act. Based on the record the firm developed, which reflected that the plaintiff filed false pleadings, the trial court awarded the firm's client all of its attorneys' fees and expenses incurred in the 9-month long case as a sanction against the plaintiff and its attorneys. The award was affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court, and the Illinois Supreme Court denied the petition for leave to appeal filed by the plaintiff and its law firm.
- Represented a Chicago-based client whose California affiliate was sued in Michigan by a Michigan competitor based on claims that the California entity had hired four key sales and executives from the competitor and that they had stolen the competitor’s client relationships. After the Michigan court entered a temporary restraining order ex parte (before Goldberg Kohn even appeared in the case), the firm successfully argued to the court that California was the proper venue and jurisdiction for the dispute, that California law should govern, that California law would not protect the Michigan company, that the facts as presented by the Michigan company were not complete or truthful, that the temporary restraining order should be dissolved and that the case should be transferred to California law. Once the case was transferred to California, the plaintiff dismissed the case outright upon being served with the firm's motion to dismiss the claim under California law.
- Represented a major Chicago financial services firm and a new employee against the new employee’s former employer which was seeking to enforce a non-solicitation agreement. After defeating the former employer’s motion for temporary restraining order, the firm was able to negotiate a settlement that did not involve the payment of any money by the client or its new employee.
- Represented a public relations firm and three senior executives it recently hired against a competitor who filed a motion for temporary restraining order seeking to restrain the firm's clients from servicing a former client of the competitor. Goldberg Kohn established the agreements in question did not forbid its clients’ conduct and defeated the motion for temporary restraining order.