I provided leads and all sorts of levels of management to a company. I wanted to be an employee when I approached them, they said no, to file an LLC so they can save on taxes. I was already doing this job prior, as a W2, but took starting my own business seriously. I had an established methodology and was successful. I was with this company for years, on a set pay had PTO, set hours, couldn't work for another company, assisted staff, planned and managed events, required to attend meetings. I brought in millions of dollars from my professional referral relationships. I even hired my own replacement. We had a contract, no non-compete clause. I left for a new job in the same industry, and now they are suing me, accusing me of a breach of contract, sharing trade secrets, all kinds of stuff, claiming ownership to everything I did as an IC. Even claiming my relationships as their own. In the lawsuit, they even addressed me as an employee. I was classified as an IC, received 1099s, paid my own taxes. They have yet to pay my final invoice, it's weeks overdue and they won't respond to my request to be paid, and they have yet to give me my 1099 for 2018.
No, you do not. They are not suing you as an employee. Trade secret law applies whether you are an employee or not.
If you are being sued, you need to hire a lawsuit attorney immediately. This is not a DIY task.
This answer is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice regarding your question and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
It all likelihood your prior company is suing you what would be called a breach of fiduciary duty or your obligations as a former employee has to trade secrets perhaps whole list of customers. You could end up in very hot water heater and deep financial trouble.
I'm going to move this over to labor and employment, so that some specialists in this area can weigh in.
I disagree a bit with my colleagues. As an independent contractor, your rights and obligations are governed almost exclusively by the terms of your contract. Generally speaking, unless there is a confidentiality clause in the agreement, your confidentiality obligations are fairly limited. You also have the question of whether you were properly classified as an independent contractor in the first place. The company cannot have it both ways. They cannot insist that you be an independent contractor so that they can avoid paying employment taxes, if you are actually being treated as an employee.
I would urge you to consult immediately with an experienced labor and employment attorney, to review your contract and the overall situation. You may very well have significant counterclaims and defenses.
This response is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship between any individuals, and is not intended as specific legal advice.
Not all industries have trade secrets. It will be interesting to discovery just what trade secrets the company alleges.
Have you been served with a Summons and Complaint?
When you say, "I left for a new job..." does that mean that you breached the contract? Or did you wait until the contract terminated to leave for the new job?
Is he old company also suing the new company?
Usually, the new company is also named as a defendant.
You should lawyer up now.
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