A significant portion of Mr. Chase’s employment practice relates to the highly contentious area of “competition law,” which governs competitive conduct between employers and employees after the employment relationship ends. Mr. Chase has represented dozens of employers and employees in disputes alleging unfair competitive conduct by ex-employees relating to:
- misappropriating confidential information or trade secrets
- improperly soliciting clients
- improperly soliciting employees
- enforcement of restrictive covenants
Competition law is a minefield for litigation because of the patchwork nature of the relevant legal obligations. On the one hand, the common law often imposes significant duties on an employee that are not contained in any written agreement. On the other hand, a court may disregard the explicit terms of written restrictive covenants negotiated by the parties and impose different restraints determined by the court.
The law in this area also differs significantly from state to state, with some states enacting sweeping legislation limiting the enforcement of restrictive covenants. Further, the recent enactment of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act has put an important federal gloss on a subject that historically was exclusively a matter of state law.
The Right Litigation Partner
An important part of litigating competition cases is effectively litigating the “provisional remedies” of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. The merits of cases in this area often are impacted by expedited initial litigation seeking to restrain the ex-employee from engaging in certain conduct during the pendency of the litigation. In representing either an employer or an employee, it often is crucial to marshal the client’s case and quickly present it to the court to place the client in the best position possible for the balance of the case. This requires immediately preparing court submissions and participating in oral argument to the court with little advance notice. Mr. Chase has extensive experience with this fast-paced and highly procedural area of practice.
If you are an employer or an employee faced with an issue relating to competition law, please contact Mr. Chase for a free initial consultation about your matter.