FOCUS: Employment Law

Obtaining Temporary Restraining Order Against Client’s Former Employee Avoids Costly Trial

A client’s former employee left the company and took a position as president of a smaller company in the same industry. The former employee argued that the smaller company, which had done work with our client in the past as a strategic partner, was not a competitor and therefore did not violate the non-compete agreement. Then, the former employee used insider knowledge of a many-months long pitch to a prospective customer gained while still working for our client to try to steal the opportunity away from our client. We needed to protect our client’s interests and prove the former employee was in violation of the non-compete.

Our team decided the best course of action was to start with obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) as it would convey that we had enough proof to successfully bring the case to trial for non-compete violation and perhaps get the former employee to agree to settle out of court, avoiding a costly trial for our client. Through presenting a lengthy series of emails involving the prospective customer and the former employee, we were able to convince the judge that we had a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of the case and that the poaching of the relationship required immediate action to maintain the status quo.

The judge granted the TRO and soon after, the former employee and his new company, which were represented by multiple large law firms, were quickly willing to settle since it was clear that they would not ultimately be able to win the case. Our strategy of successfully obtaining the TRO not only resolved the situation in our client’s favor, but it avoided having to bring the case to trial, saving our client both time and money.

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