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Critical Issues in Negotiating Separation Agreements

Whether the employment relationship ends with a celebratory retirement party after many years, dissolves upon the decision of either party after a short time, or under other circumstances, all employment relationships eventually end. This article will briefly describe some of the provisions that should be considered by employers and executives for inclusion in a separation agreement. Read on.

Internal Investigations: Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege & Avoiding Disqualification of Counsel

Determining whether an internal investigation should be led by the organization’s Human Resources personnel, in-house counsel, regular outside counsel, or non-regular outside counsel will generally hinge on the nature of the allegations and the target(s) of the allegations. Although HR personnel often conduct routine internal investigations, having them do so where litigation is reasonably anticipated in connection with the facts underlying the investigation is likely to result in the results of the investigation not being protected by the attorney-client privilege.  For that reason, and because of the expertise and experience that suitable counsel bring to an investigation, counsel should often be used to conduct an internal investigation. Read on…

Is the CFAA Violated when an Employee Accesses Authorized Information for an Improper Purpose?

Can an employee be found criminally or civilly liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA”) for accessing digital information to which she or he had authorization when done for an improper purpose? The answer prior to the June 2021 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Van Buren v. United States, 141 S. Ct. 1648 (2021), was unclear and varied between jurisdictions. Read more.

Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016: A Five Year Overview

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) turned five years old on May 11, 2021.  As a follow-up to our last article concerning misappropriation of trade secrets litigation, we are devoting this article to a review of the litigations which have arisen out of this relatively new statute. Read more.

Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Litigation: A Brief Primer

Every state has common law or statutory law prohibitions against the theft or disclosure of trade secrets. The Federal law is the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”) (18 U.S.C. §1836, et seq.). New York relies on common law which creates civil liability for misappropriation of trade secrets.

Trade secrets are only protected under the DTSA if they are related to “a product or service used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.” (18 U.S.C. § 1836(b)).
Read more…

Clawing Back Compensation From the “Faithless Servant” Under Current New York Law

The faithless servant rule is grounded in the law of agency and provides a tool that employers can use to try to claw back all compensation paid to a former employee upon demonstrating that the employee repeatedly engaged in disloyal and unfaithful conduct during the term of his or her employment. Read more.

Issues Arising in Negotiating Severance Agreements

At the risk of stating the very obvious, a severance agreement should contain a release which protects the former employer from potential lawsuits and other legal proceedings that could otherwise be brought by the former employee and his or her heirs. Severance compensation can serve as an important transition financial resource for a former employee. Thus, it is often in both parties’ interests to reach an agreement. Read more.

Current State of Restrictive Covenants (other than Non-Competes) Under New York Law

What is a Restrictive Covenant?

Our last blog article provided an update on the state of New York law concerning non-compete provisions. This article focuses on the state of New York law concerning restrictive covenant provisions other than non-competes. As our readers are almost certainly all well aware, a restrictive covenant is a contractual provision that many employers include in employment and severance agreements as well as in contracts with respect to the sale of a business. Such provisions are designed to limit the activities of a former employee or a former owner of a company for a fixed period of time following the end of the employment relationship or after the sale of a company to protect the former employer’s or buyer’s supposed legitimate business interests. In addition to employment, severance, and agreements concerning the sale of a business, these covenants can often be found in stock option agreements.
Read more.

Current State of Non-Competes Under New York Law

What is a Non-Compete?

As all of our readers undoubtedly know, a non-compete provision is a type of restrictive covenant that many employers include in employment and severance agreements. The purpose of a non-compete provision is to restrict a former employee’s ability to work for a competitor after the cessation of his or her employment.

When are Non-Competes Enforceable?Read more.

The Importance of Dissolution Provisions for New York LLCs

The limited liability company (LLC) has become one of the most commonly used business entities in New York because of the many benefits it provides to its members and managers. LLCs allow members to satisfy their business needs while still providing them with the same limited liability protection that limited partnerships provide. Although the flexibility of an LLC can be very beneficial, it is this commentator’s view that members of a New York LLC should not rely on New York’s Limited Liability Company Law (LLCL) to govern the activities of an LLC. If persons choose to form an LLC, it is essential that they have a clearly written operating agreement that provides explicit terms for, among other things, the LLC’s dissolution. A number of New York cases illustrate issues that arise when an operating agreement is vague on how to dissolve the LLC. Indeed, as discussed below, an LLC can be difficult to dissolve if the operating agreement is not explicit in this regard.

Read more.