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My X Colleague has taken my business , what legal steps can be taken

Tarzana, CA |

I am a commodities broker, my X collegaue has stolen my clients. i work with a trading school, who i introduced my x -colleague to the mentor, my X-colleague then left our firm to go to another firm, he contacted the mentor of the school and took all my bussiness after having knowledge of the commission the clients were paying and low balling me.. this has taken about a 1/3 of my business away from me, is there anything that I can do legally? thank you, Richard Kontra, 818-606-1140

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Attorney answers 3


It is not possible fir to say for sure whether or not you have a claim. It is possible that you have claims for intentional interference with contractual relationships and other business torts, but it is far from clear. It could be that fair competition is a defense to some or all of your claims, but again, it is not possible to tell based on this outline of the facts.

I strongly suggest you start contacting business lawsuit and litigation lawyers about your potential claims here. I have litigated these types of cases, and can tell you that (1) you need an exceptionally strong relationship with your lawyer to make this type of case; and (2) this type of fight can be quite bitter.


You may have a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets, if you took reasonable steps to keep your client lists and commissions charged confidential.


If there was a noncompete clause in the contract your ex colleague had with you or your brokerage, you may seek to enforce it. However, I suspect that if such a clause existed in the contract you would have raised it in your question. Additionally, you may have causes of action for misappropriation of trade secret, unfair competition, intentional interference with contract or intentional interference with economic advantage. Give me a call and I would be happy to discuss with you at no charge. My direct line is 949-954-0346. I will be available after 10 AM today.

Andrew Kevin Jacobson

Andrew Kevin Jacobson


Covenants not to compete are void against public policy in California, unless there is a sale of goodwill in a business. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code secs. 16600-16602.

Eric Burton Strongin

Eric Burton Strongin


The applications of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code assumes that the agreement not to compete falls under California law. However, even under California law, there are two additional exceptions to the rule that such covenants not to compete are unenforceable: 1. Upon or in anticipation of disassociation of a partner from or dissolution of a partnership (Cal. Bus. & Profs. Code § 16602); and 2. Upon or in anticipation of a dissolution of or the termination of an ownership interest in a limited liability company (Cal. Bus. & Profs. Code § 16602.5).

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