Non-competition agreements between employers and employees are common in business. For instance, non-compete agreements may put strict limitations on competition within the same geographic area or may restrict a former employee from using the company's client lists. Such agreements are designed to safeguard the company from competition through, for example, the sharing of trade secrets and confidential data by former employees and the loss of other assets that are valuable to the business. The theft by an employee of trade secrets of his or her former employer could form the basis for a legal claim of violation of the non-compete agreement. Some states enforce trade secret protection. California does so only if the business is able to prove that these trade secrets are, in fact, proprietary. However, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise over whether the non-compete agreement is legally binding and enforceable. Indeed, the scope and legal applicability of non-compete agreements has become an increasingly contentious issue in recent years.
In a business lawsuit, such as a breach of contract, unfair competition, or similar business litigation dispute, one of the main strategic decisions in the case is usually whether to take the case to trial, or alternatively to negotiate a settlement and avoid trial. While business litigation trial lawyers make most of the strategic decisions in a fast-moving business lawsuit, the decision whether to settle the case and on what terms is always that of the client. Certainly the attorneys can and usually do give advice about settlement. But the decision whether to settle the case must ultimately be decided by the client.
Buffington Law Firm's business attorneys have taken many breach of contract lawsuits to court in which one of the key issues was the failure of the parties to document their deal or transaction in a written agreement. In last week's Blog article we discussed some of the pitfalls of failing to create a written contract that spells out the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. We mentioned that one of the pitfalls of not having a written contract is the Statute of Frauds. Essentially, the Statute of Frauds may render certain types of agreements unenforceable if there is no written agreement. The Statute of Frauds is codified at Cal. Civil Code Section 1624.
Buffington Law Firm's business litigation team has represented numerous clients in business disputes involving family members. Business transactions between family members has become a common source of business litigation lawsuits in California. These lawsuits frequently derive from situations where several family members contribute large amounts of cash to a business venture being proposed and created by a relative.
In last week's business litigation Blog article we discussed fraud in the formation of contracts, and how to differentiate certain scenarios that involve fraud from straight breach of contract situations. In this brief article we will discuss other types of fraud as they relate to contracts. Buffington Law Firm's breach of contract and business fraud attorneys have litigated many cases involving business fraud. In these Blog articles we seek to inform the general public concerning some of the basics of this type of business litigation.