• Posts by Peter (Pete) A. Steinmeyer
    Member of the Firm

    When a highly valuable employee moves from one company to another, attorney Pete Steinmeyer is an employer’s first call. Whether losing an employee to a competitor or hiring one away, companies trust Pete to respond at a moment’s ...

Blogs
Clock 6 minute read

We recently reported on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 3-2 vote to issue its final noncompete rule that, unless it is enjoined, would ban all new noncompetes and a majority of existing noncompetes (the Noncompete Rule).  As expected, within hours of the FTC’s vote on the final noncompete rule, Ryan, LLC, a leading global tax services and software provider, filed a lawsuit challenging the Noncompete Rule, and shortly thereafter the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America (the U.S. Chamber) followed suit, filing its own lawsuit seeking to vacate and set aside the ...

Blogs
Clock 6 minute read

As expected, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 3-2 yesterday to issue its final noncompete rule, with only a few changes from the proposed rule that are discussed below. Unless it is enjoined, which we expect, the rule will become effective 120 days after publication of the final version in the Federal Register.

If the final rule survives the legal challenges, which are likely to make it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, all new non-competes would be banned. Except for existing non-competes for senior executives (as defined below), all existing noncompetes with ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2023 update to “Trade Secret Laws: Illinois,” a Q&A guide on trade secrets and confidentiality for private employers in Illinois, co-authored by Peter A. Steinmeyer and David J. Clark, Members of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice.

Following is an excerpt:

This Q&A addresses the state-specific definition of trade secrets and the legal requirements relating to protecting them. Federal, local, or municipal law may impose additional or different requirements.

Download the full Practice ...

Blogs
Clock 4 minute read

We wrote previously about how nobody seemed to be talking seriously about the noncompete bill that was passed by both the New York General Assembly and Senate last month. If signed by Governor Hochul, the bill would ban noncompetes without a carveout even in the sale of a business context, which both California and the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule include.

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

For the last decade, one of the biggest issues in Illinois noncompete law has been what constitutes adequate consideration for a post-employment restrictive covenant, apart from employment lasting at least two years after the agreement was signed.  The “24 month rule” set forth in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., 2013 IL App (1st) 120327 has caused much head-scratching, and the Illinois legislature essentially punted on the issue in the recent amendments to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act, 820 ILCS 90/1, et seq. (effective as of January 1, 2022).  (Full disclosure: One of the authors of this post advised the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in its negotiations with the State legislature over this law and, hence, can speak from personal experience on the legislative history of this “punt.”)

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it will be hosting a public forum on February 16, 2022, from 12:00-3:00 p.m. ET, to discuss its proposed nationwide noncompete ban. The forum is intended to supplement the FTC’s request for written comments, which as of today have exceeded 10,000. According to the FTC, “[t]he commission will hear from a series of speakers who have been subjected to noncompete restrictions, as well as business owners who have experience with noncompetes.” It is unclear whether any of the “business owners who have experience with ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

As we predicted, earlier today, 100 industry organizations submitted a request to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to extend the comment period for its proposed rule banning noncompetes nationwide by an additional 60 days. According to the letter, “[t]he regulated community should be given sufficient time to assess the potential consequences of the rulemaking and develop insightful comments for the Commission to consider.” The letter further states:

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

As previously reported, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a rule on January 5, 2023, that would ban noncompetes nationwide. There are serious questions about the FTC’s authority to promulgate such a rule and many practical reasons why such a sweeping approach is unwarranted—in particular at the federal level. The period for submitting formal comments to the proposed rule lasts 60 days following publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. The FTC did not file the proposed rule with the Federal Register until January 18, 2023, and it will not be published until January 19, 2023, meaning that the comment period will end on March 20, 2023—not March 10, 2023, as the FTC initially announced. We are told that there will be a formal request to extend the comment period for an additional 60 days, or until May 19, 2023, and that the FTC is likely to grant the request.

Blogs
Clock 9 minute read

On Thursday, January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made headlines with its announcement that it is proposing a new rule that would ban employers from using noncompete clauses (the “rule”).

The rule, as drafted, would prohibit employers throughout the United States from relying on or enforcing covenants to not compete. It is retroactive, further requiring the rescission of any such restrictive covenants currently in existence by an undetermined compliance date (which will be at least 240 days from now, at the earliest). The rule also specifies that the federal regulations would supersede any contradictory state law.

The announcement, while stunning to many, is a development that we anticipated and questioned halfway through 2022 and saw coming by the end of the year.

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

We’d like to share an article we wrote recently in Law360: “Illinois Noncompete Reform Balances Employee and Biz Interests.”

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Illinois Legislature accomplished something truly remarkable: a comprehensive reform of noncompete and nonsolicit law that was passed unanimously by the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives.

The reform bill is not a complete ban, as some competing bills and employee advocates originally sought. And the bill is certainly not ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

We’re pleased to present the 2021 update to “Hiring from a Competitor: Practical Tips to Minimize Litigation Risk,” published by Thomson Reuters Practical Law.

Following is an excerpt – see below to download the full version:

A Practice Note describing the steps an employer can take to minimize litigation risk when hiring from a competitor. This Note discusses potential statutory and common law claims when hiring from a competitor, the need to identify any existing contractual restrictions a potential new hire may have, how to avoid potential issues during the ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2021 update to “Preparing for Non-Compete Litigation,” a Practice Note I co-authored with Zachary Jackson.

See below to download the full Note – following is an excerpt:

Non-compete litigation is typically fast-paced and expensive. An employer must act quickly when it suspects that an employee or former employee is violating a noncompete agreement (also referred to as a non-competition agreement or non-compete). It is critical to confirm that there is sufficient factual and legal support before initiating legal action ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

The 2020 update to our Practice Note, “Garden Leave Provisions in Employment Agreements,” is now available from Thomson Reuters Practical Law.  We discuss garden leave provisions in employment agreements as an alternative or a companion to traditional employee non-compete agreements.

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full article in PDF format):

In recent years, traditional non-compete agreements have faced increasing judicial scrutiny, with courts focusing on issues such as the adequacy of consideration, the propriety of non-competes for lower level ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

We’re pleased to present the 2020 update to “Hiring from a Competitor: Practical Tips to Minimize Litigation Risk,” published by Thomson Reuters Practical Law.

Following is an excerpt - see below to download the full version:

In most industries, competition is not limited to battles over customers and clients, but also includes efforts to recruit, employ, and retain the most productive and talented workforce. In fact, many employers consider their employees to be their most valuable assets and vigorously work to prevent competitors from taking those assets. For that ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2019 update to "Preparing for Non-Compete Litigation," a Practice Note I co-authored with Zachary Jackson.

See below to download the full Note - following is an excerpt:

Non-compete litigation is typically fast-paced and expensive. An employer must act quickly when it suspects that an employee or former employee is violating a non-compete agreement (also referred to as a non-competition agreement or non-compete). It is critical to confirm that there is sufficient factual and legal support before initiating legal action. Filing a ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

A federal judge in Chicago recently held that an individual can be convicted of attempting to steal a trade secret, even if the information at issue did not actually constitute a trade secret, so long as the individual believed that the information was a trade secret.

In United States of America v. Robert O’Rourke Opinion, Judge Andrea R. Wood denied a post-conviction motion for a new trial in a case involving attempted and actual trade secret theft.  The decision involved a metallurgical engineer and salesperson, Robert O’Rourke, who resigned his employment to take a position as ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

I'm pleased to present the 2019 update to our "Trade Secrets Litigation" Practice Note, published by Thomson Reuters Practical Law. My co-author Zachary Jackson and I discuss litigation for employers whose employees have misappropriated trade secrets.

See below to download it in PDF format—following is an excerpt:

Trade secrets are often an employer’s most valuable assets. When an employee or former employee misappropriates an employer’s trade secrets, the employer frequently initiates litigation with several goals in mind, including:
  • Preventing further ...
Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Employers sometimes ask whether it matters if they are inconsistent in their enforcement of non-competes.  Typically, the issue is analyzed in terms of whether inconsistent enforcement undercuts the legitimate business interest justifying the restriction.  However, in a pending lawsuit, Miller v. Canadian National Railway Co., the issue is being raised in a different context: whether alleged inconsistent enforcement was racially motivated.  Specifically, the plaintiff in that case alleges that “[b]y enforcing the non-compete against Miller and not against similarly ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

A federal judge in Chicago recently taught a painful lesson to an Illinois employer: even if information is sufficiently sensitive and valuable that it could qualify as a “trade secret,” it won’t unless the owner of the information took adequate steps to protect its secrecy.

In a thorough opinion issued in the case, Abrasic 90 Inc., d/b/a CGW Camel Grinding Wheels, USA v. Weldcote Metals, Inc., Joseph O’Mera and Colleen Cervencik, U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. of the Northern District of Illinois explained that “there are two basic elements to the analysis” of ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

The Illinois Appellate Court recently declined to adopt a bright line rule regarding the enforceability of five year non-competes or three year non-solicits, and instead directed courts to interpret the reasonableness of any such restrictive covenants on a case-by-case basis.

In Pam’s Acad. of Dance/Forte Arts Ctr. v. Marik, 2018 IL App (3d) 170803, the plaintiff dance company sued a former employee for breaching a non-disclosure agreement and restrictive covenant by allegedly opening a dance studio within 25 miles of plaintiff and soliciting students and teachers by means of ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Effective as of October 1, 2018, Massachusetts will become the 49th state to adopt a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (leaving New York as the only holdout). Massachusetts did so as part of a large budget bill recently signed into law, which also resulted in the adoption of the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act. (The text of the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act is set out on pages 47-52 of the bill, H. 4868, while the effective date is set out on page 117. Here is a link to the entire budget bill.)

While there are differences from existing Massachusetts ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

We just published an article with Thomson Reuters Practical Law discussing garden leave provisions in employment agreements as an alternative or a companion to traditional employee non-compete agreements. With Thomson Reuters Practical Law’s permission, we have attached it here.

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Following what it described as a three year “one-man legal circus,” a Seventh Circuit panel recently affirmed a sanction award of over $440,000 in a trade secret misappropriation case, after finding that the defendant, Raj Shekar, “demonstrated nothing but disrespect, deceit, and flat-out hostility[.]” Teledyne Technologies Incorporated v. Raj Shekar, No. 17-2171, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17153, at *13 (7th Cir. June 25, 2018).

Shekar worked at Teledyne Technologies as a marketing and sales manager from June 2013 until he was fired less than two years later. Following his ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

We non-compete lawyers often rely on an old rule of thumb when analyzing the enforceability of a non-compete: if the restriction is so broad that it would even prohibit an employee from working as a janitor for a competitor, then it is very unlikely to be enforced by a judge. And so when a federal judge expressly endorses such a rule of thumb, the urge to blog about it is simply irresistible.

In Medix Staffing Solutions Inc. v. Daniel Dumrauf, Judge Ellis of the Northern District of Illinois addressed the enforceability of a restrictive covenant which prohibited employment in any capacity

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

We just published an article with Thomson Reuters Practical Law discussing non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Illinois. With Thomson Reuters Practical Law's permission, we have attached it here.

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

Of the various types of post-employment restrictions imposed on employees, a restriction on the recruitment of former co-workers (sometimes referred to as a “no-poach” or “anti-raiding” clause) is the type most likely to be enforced by a court. As a result, this is one type of post-employment restriction that is frequently drafted without the careful thought generally put in to traditional non-competes and client non-solicitation clauses.  But in what could be a foreshadowing of closer judicial scrutiny of co-worker non-solicitation clauses nationwide, the Wisconsin ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Earlier this week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued payday loan company Check Into Cash of Illinois, LLC for allegedly requiring that all of its employees in Illinois, regardless of position or pay, sign a standard non-compete agreement which broadly limits their employment mobility for one year post-termination.

According to the Complaint, Check Into Cash’s standard non-compete agreement effectively precludes employment with any entity that offers any “consumer lending service,” regardless of whether the entity is an actual competitor; it applies within ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute
We just published an article with the Practical Law Company discussing garden leave provisions in employment agreements. With PLC’s permission, we have attached it here.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
We just published a Practice Note with the Practical Law Company discussing litigation for employers whose employees have misappropriated trade secrets. With PLC’s permission, we have attached it here.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute

In this age of social media, a frequently asked question is whether social media activity can violate a non-compete or non-solicit.   Although the case law is evolving, courts which have addressed the issue have focused on the content of the communication, rather than the medium used to convey it.  In so doing, they have distinguished between mere passive social media activity (e.g., posting an update about a new job) as opposed to more targeted, active actions (e.g., not merely posting about a new job, but also actively recruiting former co-workers or clients).

A “LinkedIn” case ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

In non-compete matters, it is often said that trial judges dislike enjoining individuals and will go out of their way to avoid doing so. A recent decision by the Florida Court of Appeals, Allied Universal Corporation v. Jeffrey B. Given, may be a good example of such a situation – as well as an example of an employer that took an immediate appeal and got the relief it wanted.

In Allied Universal, the trial court denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to enforce the terms of a non-compete with a former employee, even though the employee failed to rebut evidence that his non-compete was ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

Insurance coverage is not something which comes to mind when thinking about trade secret misappropriation. In fact, since this blog was started in 2009, I cannot recall a single post about an insurance coverage issue.

That being said, one of the first things prudent defense counsel will do when a client is sued for alleged trade secret misappropriation is to instruct their client to notify their insurance carrier and inquire as to whether there is coverage for some or all of the claims. Sometimes there is; sometimes there isn’t.  However, the prudent course of action is always to play it ...

Blogs
Clock 3 minute read

In Reed v. Getco, LLC, the Illinois Court of Appeals was recently faced with an interesting situation: under a contractual non-compete agreement, the employer was obligated to pay the employee $1 million during a six month, post-employment non-competition period.  This was, in effect, a form of paid “garden leave” --  where the employee was to be paid $1 million to sit out for six months – perhaps to finally correct his golf slice or even learn the fine art of surfing.  It was a win-win situation that seemingly would be blessed by most courts; it was for a reasonable length of time, and ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Illinois recently became one of the first states to ban non-compete agreements for low wage workers when it passed the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. The law, which takes effect on January 1, 2017 and applies to agreements signed after that date, bars non-compete agreements for workers who earn the greater of 1) the Federal, State, or local minimum wage or 2) $13.00 an hour.  At present, because the State minimum wage is below $13.00 per hour, $13.00 an hour is the operative figure in Illinois.

While Illinois is one of the first states to enact this type of blanket ban on non-competes based on ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), which became effective immediately. The DTSA provides the first private federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation, and it allows parties to sue in federal court for trade secret misappropriation—regardless of the dollar value of the trade secrets at issue.

Although the DTSA’s remedies largely overlap with those in the 48 states that have adopted some version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, the DTSA will nevertheless significantly alter how trade secret ...

Blogs
Clock 6 minute read

Employers seeking to require an existing employee to sign a restrictive covenant should consider current litigation trends surrounding what constitutes “adequate consideration.” Under the traditional rule followed by a majority of states, continued employment, standing alone, is adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant signed by an at-will employee. Several courts, however, have recently reexamined this issue, so employers must be aware of differences among the states as to whether some consideration beyond mere continued at-will employment is required.

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

In Nedschroef Detroit Corp. et al. v. Bemas Enterprises et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently affirmed an award of nearly $3.7  million in damages against two individuals found to have engaged in misconduct related to the operation of a business which competed with their employer.

Nedschroef Detroit Corporation (“Nedschroef”) services and provides replacement parts for fastener machines made by an affiliate in Europe.  Without Nedschroef’s knowledge, two of its employees formed a business – under their wives’ names – to do exactly what ...

Blogs
Clock 4 minute read

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="122"] Peter A. Steinmeyer[/caption]

In Bridgeview Bank Group v. Meyer, the Illinois Appellate Court recently affirmed the denial of a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) against an individual who joined a competitor and then, among other things, allegedly violated contractual non-solicitation and confidentiality obligations.

As a threshold matter, the Appellate Court was troubled by what it described as Bridgeview’s “leisurely approach” to seeking injunctive relief.  The Appellate Court noted that Bridgeview filed ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Readers of this blog know that long settled understandings regarding what constitutes adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant in Illinois were turned upside down when the First District Appellate Court in Illinois held in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services Inc., 2013 IL App. (1st) 120327 that, absent other consideration, two years of employment are required for a restrictive covenant to be supported by adequate consideration, regardless of whether the covenant was signed at the outset of employment or after, and regardless of whether the employee quit or was fired.

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Weighing in on an issue that is drawing attention nationwide, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held, in Socko v. Mid-Atlantic Systems of CPA, Inc., that the mere continuation of employment is not sufficient consideration to support a restrictive covenant.  Rather, for there to be sufficient consideration, the Court held that the employee must receive “some corresponding benefit or a favorable change in employment status.”  As examples of such sufficient additional consideration, the Court cited “a promotion, a change from part-time to full-time employment, or ...

Blogs
Clock 4 minute read

In a decision issued in late October, AssuredPartners, Inc. et al. v. William Schmitt, 2015 IL  App. (1st) 141863 (Ill. App. 2015),  the Illinois Appellate Court struck down as overbroad and unreasonable, the noncompete, nonsolicit and confidentiality provisions in an employment agreement.  The Court then refused to judicially modify or “blue pencil” these provisions because the Court deemed their deficiencies “too great to permit modification.”  This decision is essentially a primer on current Illinois law regarding restrictive covenants and confidentiality ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

Readers of this blog know that long settled understandings regarding what constitutes adequate consideration for a restrictive covenant in Illinois were turned upside down when the First District Appellate Court in Illinois held in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, 2013 IL App. (1st) 120327  that, absent other consideration, two years of employment are required for a restrictive covenant to be supported by adequate consideration, regardless of whether the covenant was signed at the outset of employment or after, and regardless of whether the employee quit or was fired.

The ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Over the past 24 months, one of the hottest issues in non-compete law has been whether continued at-will employment, by itself, is sufficient consideration for a non-compete.

Last week, in Runzheimer International v. Friedlen and Corporate Reimbursement Services, Inc., the Wisconsin Supreme weighed in on this issue, holding that continued employment is sufficient consideration for a non-compete signed by a current at-will employee.  However, the Court expressly qualified this holding by explaining that if an at-will employee is fired “shortly after signing” a ...

Blogs
Clock 3 minute read

Last week, Chicago district judge Charles Kocoras dismissed a declaratory judgment action challenging the enforceability of a facially broad form non-compete agreement signed by all employees of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain.  Judge Kocoras held that the dispute was not judiciable because the plaintiffs lacked the requisite “reasonable apprehension” of litigation against them and because they failed to allege that they had actually engaged in conduct that would violate the non-compete.  (Judge Kocoras’ memorandum opinion also addressed significant joint ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

Readers of this blog know that in the summer of 2013, long held beliefs about the required consideration for a restrictive covenant under Illinois law were thrown a curve when the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District (i.e., Cook County) held in Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., 2013 IL App (1st) 120327, that, absent other consideration, two years of employment is required for a restrictive covenant to be deemed supported by adequate consideration—even where the employee signed the restrictive covenant as a condition to his employment offer and even where the ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

The size of an injunction bond is not a common topic in appellate cases. Accordingly, a recent decision by the Indiana Appellate Court reversing the trial court’s setting of an injunction bond at only $100 in a non-compete case is noteworthy.

In Donald Moss v. Progressive Design Apparel, Inc., the Indiana Appellate Court affirmed a preliminary injunction which restricted a salesman’s ability to call upon customers of his former employer or disclose confidential information. As part of the trial court’s order granting injunctive relief, the trial court found that the ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

In determining what is an impermissible “solicitation” by a current employee, the Illinois Appellate Court recently drew a distinction between officers and non-officers. See Xylem Dewatering Solutions, Inc., d/b/a Godwin Pumps of America et al. v. Szablewski et al., Case No. 5-14-0080 (Ill. App. 5th  Dist. 2014).

In Xylem Dewatering Solutions, the defendants were accused by their former employer of wrongfully soliciting customers and suppliers on behalf of a competitive business that they were planning to launch. According to the Appellate Court’s decision, while still ...

Blogs
Clock less than a minute

Judge Ross of the United States District for the Eastern District of Missouri recently declined to issue a preliminary injunction in a trade secret misappropriation case, holding that a transportation company did not offer sufficient evidence to show that its customer lists and pricing information were trade secrets under Missouri law. Towne Air Freight, LLC v. Double M. Carriers, Inc., Case no. 4:14-CV-750-JAR (E.D. MO June 9, 2014).

In so ruling, Judge Ross quoted from an earlier case which held that “[c]ustomer lists are protectable as trade secrets only when they represent a ...

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
Federal district judges in Chicago are now split over whether to follow the Illinois appellate court's landmark non-compete decision, Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., 373 Ill. Dec. 379, 993 N.E. 2d 938 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2013).
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
A threshold tactical decision in virtually every non-compete and trade secret case is where to file the suit. This decision is particularly important when a non-compete dispute has a California angle, because non-compete agreements are generally void as against public policy in California.
Blogs
Clock 4 minute read
Judge Ruben Castillo, the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, recently declined to follow a widely publicized Illinois Appellate Court decision in which the Appellate Court held that, absent other consideration, two years of employment is required consideration for a restrictive covenant in Illinois.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A federal judge in Chicago recently held that when a corporation enters into a contract with another corporation under which it agrees not to engage in certain competitive activities, that agreement not to compete should not be analyzed like an employer/employee non-compete.
Blogs
Clock 3 minute read
A recent decision by one district of the Illinois Court of Appeals (Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services) significantly altered long-settled understandings regarding the consideration required for an enforceable restrictive covenant in Illinois. In light of that decision, Illinois employers hoping to enforce restrictive covenants within two years after the signing date should be prepared to distinguish Fifield factually or legally. Employers that are concerned about their ability to do so, or that want to err on the side of caution, should act now to address the implications of Fifield.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
The Illinois Supreme Court recently announced that it was not going to review an Illinois Appellate Court decision, Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., which held that, absent other consideration, two years of employment is required for a restrictive covenant to be deemed supported by adequate consideration - even where the employee signed the restrictive covenant as a condition to his employment offer - and even where the employee voluntarily resigned.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A recent Seventh Circuit decision underscores the need to re-evaluate the continued prosecution of trade secret misappropriation cases as the facts unfold in discovery.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
The Indiana Court of Appeals recently affirmed a preliminary injunction enforcing a five-year non-compete agreement against a former employee of a printing business. Why was a restriction of that length found to be reasonable?
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
In Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., an Illinois Appellate Court recently held that, absent other consideration, two years of employment is required for a restrictive covenant to be deemed supported by adequate consideration - even where the employee signed the restrictive covenant as a condition to his employment offer - and even where the employee voluntarily resigned.
Blogs
Clock 3 minute read
Social media has changed the way that companies and employees connect to clients and customers. As new uses for social networking emerge, legal issues in this area are arising.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A United States Magistrate Judge recently held that a plaintiff had a duty to preserve his Facebook account and that his deletion of it warranted an "adverse inference" jury instruction for failing to preserve it.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute

The beginning of the year is a time of high employee mobility, and with that mobility comes a risk of litigation between the hiring employer and the former employer - particularly when the two companies are direct competitors.

Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Forum selection clauses are common in non-compete agreements, particularly when the employer is multi-state or multi-national. One question that often arises, however, is whether a court will actually require an employee to litigate in a distant jurisdiction with which he had minimal contacts. In a recent case from the Eastern District of Missouri, a federal judge enforced just such a forum selection clause.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Trade secret misappropriation cases turn on details. A recent Indiana misappropriation of trade secrets case turned on a contractual clause requiring the return of all company property and confidential information at termination.
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
A federal judge in Chicago recently wrestled with two issues that we frequently blog about: what constitutes misappropriation of confidential information, and to what extent can a current employee prepare to compete with his employer without breaching his fiduciary duty?
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
In a recent decision in Pactiv Corporation v. Rupert, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held that under an employer's severance pay plan, the employer could not require a former employee to agree to a restrictive covenant in order to receive severance pay.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed its decision of earlier this year in Acordia of Ohio, L.L.C. v. Fishel et al., in which the Court held that when a company that was the original party to a noncompete agreement merges in to another company, unless the noncompete agreement contained a "successors and assigns" clause, the merger was a termination of employment which triggered the running of the restrictive period in the noncompete.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Last week, American Airlines and one of its former employees entered in to an agreed permanent injunction which prohibits the former employee from disseminating certain confidential, proprietary or trade secret information through any medium.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois sentenced a former Motorola software engineer, Hanjuan Jin, to four years in prison for stealing Motorola trade secrets related to proprietary technology.
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read

Peter A. Steinmeyer of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. will be speaking in an upcoming live phone/web seminar entitled "Hiring a Competitor's Employees: Avoiding Legal Pitfalls" scheduled for Tuesday, July 10, 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT.

Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
The Ohio Supreme Court recently held that when a company that was the original party to a noncompete agreement merges in to another company, unless the noncompete agreement contained a "successors and assigns" clause, the merger is a termination of employment which triggers the running of the restrictive period in the noncompete.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
We are pleased to announce that "Preparing for Non-Compete Litigation," a guide published by The Practical Law Company and authored by EpsteinBeckerGreen's Peter A. Steinmeyer and Zachary C. Jackson, is now available in PDF format. The guide is a valuable discussion of the primary considerations for employers seeking to initiate legal action to enforce a non-compete agreement.
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
In Western Blue Print Company, LLC v. Myrna Roberts et al., the Missouri Supreme Court recently affirmed a tortious interference verdict against a manager who left to join a competitor, largely because the manager engaged in inappropriate conduct when departing one employer for another. While such tortious interference claims are commonly raised in disputes with former employees who leave to join a competitor, actual determinations of the merits of such claims are not common, and state supreme court parsings of such claims are even less common. Accordingly, this decision is worth reviewing.
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
In a recent decision, the Utah Court of Appeals broadly interpreted the preemption clause in the Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("UTSA") to hold that it "preempts claims based on the unauthorized use of information, irrespective of whether that information meets the statutory definition of a trade secret."
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
An updated version of our guide, "Non-Compete Laws: Illinois," is now available. It reflects the recent decision of the Second District of the Appellate Court of Illinois, Hafferkamp v. Llorca, which contains an important holding regarding standards for enforcing non-compete agreements in Illinois.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
On January 23, 2012, the Canadian National Railway Company filed suit against its former Chief Executive Officer, E. Hunter Harrison, for allegedly violating certain non-compete and non-disclosure obligations. Peter A. Steinmeyer was interviewed about the lawsuit on the Business News Network's show, "Headline with Howard Green."
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
A federal judge in Chicago recently refused to issue an injunction based upon either the "inevitable disclosure" of trade secrets doctrine or a geographically broad, 24-month non-compete that did not have a narrowly drawn activity restriction.
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently held that compilations containing only minimal secret information nevertheless qualified for trade secret protection because the substantial investment involved in preparing them gave their owner a competitive advantage and because the owner undertook reasonable efforts to maintain their secrecy by labeling them with a proprietary legend and only distributing them to parties which signed a confidentiality agreement.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
An updated version of our guide, "Non-Compete Laws: Illinois," is now available. It reflects the recent decision of the Illinois Supreme Court in Reliable Fire Equipment Company v. Arredondo, et al., which resolved several years of confusion over the appropriate standard for enforcing non-compete agreements in Illinois.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A recent opinion from the Supreme Court of Kansas held that multiple jury instructions which had led to a verdict for a plaintiff asserting claims of trade secret misappropriation and breach of certain restrictive covenants were erroneous, and accordingly reversed the jury verdict and remanded the action back to the trial court.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
U.S. v. Pu presents another instance of a trade secret theft case with an international component that the federal authorities have decided to prosecute.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Alleged thefts of trade secrets are generally handled through the civil court system, and rarely result in criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, where there is an international component to the case or where the magnitude of the alleged theft is particularly significant, the prosecuting authorities will step in, as recently happened in Chicago.
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
When drafting no-competes, questions about the required level of detail always arise; more detail is generally better than less, but not always. The required level of detail in a no-compete was among the questions addressed in a recent decision by the Ohio Court of Appeals.
Blogs
Clock 4 minute read
Contrary to popular perception, California law does not bar all restrictive covenants in the employment context. Rather, in certain very narrow circumstances (i.e., non-competes arising in connection with the sale or dissolution of certain businesses), non-competes are permissible under California law.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Vienna Beef, the official hot dog of the Chicago Cubs, recently struck out in its effort to obtain a temporary restraining order against hot dog rival Red Hot Chicago, Inc. and the grandson of one of the founders of Vienna Beef, Scott D. Ladany.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Peter A. Steinmeyer of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. will be speaking in an upcoming live webinar entitled "Noncompete Agreements: Latest Litigation Developments" scheduled for Thursday, August 11, 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Last week, in the case of Lucht's Concrete Pumping, Inc. v. Homer, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the continued employment of an at-will employee is adequate consideration for a noncompetition agreement. The Court explained that if this was not the case, employers would have an incentive to terminate at-will employees and condition their re-hire on the execution of a noncompetition agreement.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A recent decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals prolongs a non-compete lawsuit that already has been pending for nine years.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Last year, the Gonzaga Law Review published an exhaustive study of federal court trade secret litigation. This week, it published a companion study of state appellate court decisions involving trade secrets during the period between 1995 and 2009.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
The proposed "Illinois Covenants Not To Compete Act" was re-introduced on January 12, 2011 in the same form as it was introduced last year. This bill has not attracted significant public attention or commentary, but we will monitor it and report on significant developments.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Please join me and other attorneys from my firm, EpsteinBeckerGreen, as we present a full-day program covering labor and employment law topics that have increasingly impacted employers over the past two years. In addition, we will offer an outlook of what we should expect in the coming two years.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A former Technical Director for a painting and coating company who pled guilty to downloading trade secrets from a secure computer system and transferring them to external thumb drives recently was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
The Iowa Court of Appeals recently affirmed a jury's conclusion that detailed information about insurance policy holders was a protected trade secret.
Blogs
Clock 3 minute read
In October 2009, in Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. v. Ehlers, 333 Ill.Dec. 791, 915 N.E.2d 862 (Ill. App. Ct. 2009), an Illinois appellate court reexamined and rejected over thirty years of well-established precedent regarding the enforceability of restrictive covenants. Specifically, it rejected the "legitimate business interest" test long applied as a threshold issue by Illinois courts when deciding the enforceability of a restrictive covenant. Last week, in Steam Sales Corporation v. Brian Summers, the first Illinois Appellate District other than the Fourth District re-visited the issue of whether the "legitimate business interest" still applied.
Blogs
Clock 2 minute read
When drafting employee confidentiality agreements, there is a tendency to think that no restriction can be too tight. However, a recent decision by the Illinois Appellate Court, The Town of Cicero v. Wayne A. Johnson, held that a confidentiality provision in a separation agreement was so onerous that the entire provision was unenforceable.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
In the latest example of a significant international trade secret theft resulting in a federal criminal prosecution, chemist David Yen Lee recently pleaded guilty in federal court in Chicago to "knowingly and without authorization" possessing one or more trade secrets of his former employer Valspar Corporation with intent to convert them "to the economic benefit of someone other than the owner."
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Applying Missouri law, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed an award of $1,369,921 in liquidated damages stemming from the alleged violation of non-solicitation agreements by four former employees of accounting firm Mayer Hoffman McCann.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
When hiring new employees, you can minimize the risk of inadvertently becoming embroiled in trade secret litigation by taking a few simple steps.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
So far, Illinois courts have not followed a 2009 Illinois appellate decision, Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. v. Ehlers, 333 Ill.Dec. 791, 915 N.E.2d 862 (Ill. App. Ct. 2009), which rejected the "legitimate business interest" test long applied as a threshold issue by Illinois courts when deciding the enforceability of a restrictive covenant.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A recent Third Circuit decision, Pharmethod v. Caserta, provides what amounts to a primer on Pennsylvania non-compete law.
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
Peter A. Steinmeyer and Jake Schmidt recently published an updated and expanded guide to drafting enforceable non-competition agreements in Illinois, addressing the Illinois Appellate Court's Sunbelt Rentals decision and the proposed "Illinois Covenants Not to Compete Act."
Blogs
Clock less than a minute
A new study of federal court trade secret litigation published in the Gonzaga Law Review on March 17, 2010 confirms that the number of lawsuits involving alleged trade secret misappropriation continues to grow exponentially.

Search This Blog

Blog Editors

Recent Updates

Related Services

Topics

Archives

Jump to Page

Subscribe

Sign up to receive an email notification when new Trade Secrets & Employee Mobility posts are published:

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.