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My employee quit his job with my company, and started his own business, competing with my business, and soliciting my clients.

New York, NY |

We did NOT have any written employment agreement. Can I get an injunction stopping him from contacting my clients & taking them for his new business, even tho we had no written non-compete agreement? Is he permitted to do that merely because we had no written agreement?
Can I also sue him for the money I have lost from the clients he has taken from my business?
What are my chances of being successful in this case to get an injunction stopping this conduct, and for money that I lost?
Also, could I get my atty fees reimbursed? Can I also get punitive damages?

Attorney Answers 1

  1. In the absence of a written contract an employee may quit his job and compete fairly with his former employer. You can stop him, only if he is using your trade secrets. Under certain circumstances your client list can be considered a trade secret. Your pricing structure and product sources could be trade secrets. Whether protectable trade secrets exist depend on a number of factors that should not be addressed on a public message board. If he is using your trade secrets, you can enjoin him from using those secrets in his new business, and depending on how vital they are to his business shutting him down. You may be able to sue him for damages for misusing your trade secrets if they exists. The odds of you being successful cannot be calculated without a detailed analysis of your business, and how he is operating. You are unlikely to obtain attorney's fees, and unless he misappropriated clear trade secrets or is competing unfairly, you unlikely to obtain punitive damages. The only guarantee is that to attempt to stop him, you are going to spend a minimum of $10,000 and perhaps considerably more.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email -

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