At Aeton Law Partners LLP, we represent employers and employees in employment litigation matters, including non-compete litigation, breach of confidentiality, misappropriation of trade secrets, and theft of confidential information. We bring and defend lawsuits involving non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and assignment of intellectual property.
Call 860.785.2099 to schedule a consultation with our Connecticut non-compete litigation attorneys.
MIDDLETOWN, NEW HAVEN, AND HARTFORD NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT ATTORNEY
Employers and employees often wait too long to discuss their issue with an attorney and learn about their rights regarding non-compete agreements or loss of clients and business. Taking a proactive approach to disputes over non-competes, theft of clients, and lost sales often results in a more favorable outcome, sometimes without litigation. It starts by avoiding litigation in the first place through a solid exit strategy on the employee side and the effective management of departing employees on the employer side.
EMPLOYERS MANAGING NON-COMPETE AND CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS
Our lawyers provide sound legal counsel and legal representation for employers and business owners faced with the departures of key employees or the theft of company information. Recently, there has been published data showing significant risk to employers of loss of confidential information. Our first goal is to help employers manage the risks associated with departing employees and the protection of confidential information and intellectual property.
Our goal is for our business clients to avoid damages such as theft of intellectual property, loss of client lists and trade secrets, and lost sales. We start by ensuring that sufficient contractual agreements are in place before an event occurs. This includes non-compete agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and non-solicitation agreements. There is no “one-size-fits-all,” and to increase the chance that your employment agreement can be enforced in court, you need an experienced attorney to draft your employment agreement. Read these tips for employers when deciding to enforce a non-compete agreement in Connecticut.
When we get involved after a departure or an event, we act quickly to file lawsuits and preserve key evidence, including laptops and mobile devices. We work for business solutions to the problem to determine if the matter can be resolved quickly in a lawsuit. If not, we stand prepared to bring full bore litigation and to seek court orders to stop theft of company information and loss of clients to include preliminary injunctions, temporary restraining orders, or a prejudgment remedy.
Identification and protection of evidence are often critical in these cases in the early stages, especially with regard to electronically stored data from an employee’s work station and remote devices. We work with both forensic accountants and computer forensic experts to marshal the available evidence before it can be destroyed or altered.
We have been involved in cases in which we handled the forensic recovery of thousands of files on iPhones and laptops. We also have handled the recovery of text message content, detection of remote access to a network, and network sabotage. We recently handled a case where the departing employees were the same technology professionals who were paid to protect a business’s network. After the discovery process, the case settled when we were able to uncover the theft of an entire database that had been stored at an offsite location to avoid our subpoena.
The forensic review of employee computers, laptops, and phones is a complex area and requires an understanding of several different aspects of law and technology. Regardless of the issue, it is important to involve an attorney early in the process. After key employees or partners leave a business, it can be difficult to uncover the facts and determine what happened. Many times, employees will leave behind digital footprints or traces of wrongful conduct. It is important to understand the types of information available and how to get them. We work with computer forensic experts in some of these situations to help gather critical evidence.
WHAT IF I HAVE NO CONTRACT WITH MY EMPLOYEE, DO I HAVE A CASE?
I am asked this question all the time. Many employers assume there are no grounds to bring a lawsuit without a written contract with employees concerning customers or competition. The assumption is not always correct, and in many cases, an employer will have legal options even without a contract.
Connecticut law includes several options for employers when there is no contract with the employee. For example, regardless of whether there is a contract, employees in Connecticut owe a duty of loyalty to the employer. It is a matter of agency law. The employee is an agent of the employer and must act in the employer’s interest within the scope of the employee’s duties. As a result, an employee is allowed to prepare to compete against his employer while still employed, but an employee is not permitted under Connecticut law to actually start competing.
In many circumstances, actual competition by an employee while still working for an employer is a breach of the duty of loyalty. Aeton Law recently obtained a significant judgment against former employees for competing in this matter. Through the discovery of cell phone records of several employees, as well as depositions of key witnesses in three states, we were able to piece together a strong circumstantial case. The employees had built a new business by essentially stealing clients and business concepts. After not offering any money to settle the case for months, the case settled the day before trial when the trial court made key rulings in our favor.
Another possible legal option for employers in a no contract situation concerns Connecticut’s Trade Secrets Act. Many people think trade secrets are only super secret formulas, such as the secret formula to Coke. However, employers are sometimes surprised to learn that client lists and customer databases can receive trade secret protection under Connecticut law in the right circumstances. In such cases, the Connecticut Trade Secrets Act provides available remedies, including damages, attorney’s fees, and injunctions. The bottom line is that employers and business owners should not assume that no contract means no case.
Contact Aeton Law Partners LLP for questions concerning Non-Compete Agreements. If you are involved in a dispute over a non-compete or non-disclosure agreement, it is in your interest to contact us to discuss your situation with a lawyer.