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The In-House Advisor Published by Shepard Davidson & Renee Inomata

Category Archives: Contracts

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Careful Drafting of Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants Can Save the Day

Posted in Contracts, Noncompetition & Other Restrictive Covenants, Pre-Litigation Considerations, Separations, Layoffs & Terminations

It generally is a defense to a breach of contract claim if the defendant proves that the plaintiff was the first one to materially breach the parties’ agreement. As a recent case from the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court confirms, however, a plaintiff seeking to enforce a post-employment restrictive covenant can avoid… Continue Reading

Don’t Let Your Guard Down After Reaching an “Agreement in Principle”

Posted in Arbitration and Mediation, Contracts, Settlements and Releases

It’s human nature to engage in an emotional exhale after reaching an agreement in principle to settle a long-standing or hard-fought dispute. While doing so is all well and good, it is critical that you don’t let that deter you from exercising extreme focus on documenting that settlement in a carefully crafted agreement. Indeed, as… Continue Reading

Beware: Sending A Text Message Can Be Just as Binding as Signing a Document By Hand!

Posted in Contracts

We have all heard stories about the dangers of social media, whether it be an inappropriate tweet, a regrettable Facebook posting or a misdirected “sexting.” The decision issued by the Massachusetts Land Court in St. John’s Holdings, LLC v. Two Electronics, LLC  adds another peril to that list. It held that a text message sufficient… Continue Reading

Even Conduct That Is Not Barred by a Contract Can Lead to Contract Damages

Posted in Contracts, Pre-Litigation Considerations, Settlements and Releases

In Exercising Contractual Rights Can Be Risky If It Is for an Ulterior Purpose, I discussed how a business can subject itself to multiple damages and attorneys’ fees under Mass. General Laws, Chapter 93A if it attempts to enforce its contractual rights maliciously. In a recent, parallel decision, Robert and Ardis James Foundation v. Meyers, the… Continue Reading

Whistleblower Immunity Required Under Defend Trade Secrets Act

Posted in Compliance, Policies & Notices, Confidentiality, Contracts, Noncompetition & Other Restrictive Covenants

The new Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) allows owners of trade secrets to now bring a civil action in federal court to protect their trade secrets and confidential information. Further, under the DTSA, a trade secret owner may be awarded actual damages, injunctive relief, restitution, the extraordinary relief of ex parte seizure orders and, if there is willful or… Continue Reading

Consider Liquidated Damages to Deter Employees From Misappropriating Company Information

Posted in Confidentiality, Contracts, Hiring, Liquidated Damages

It is not unusual for employment agreements to mandate that when an employee leaves a company, whether voluntarily or by termination, he or she must return all company information. As the employer in EventMonitor v. Leness recently learned, however, relying on the courts to enforce such an obligation is risky, at best.

Be Careful What You Ask for When Agreeing to Arbitration

Posted in Arbitration and Mediation, Contracts, Pre-Litigation Considerations

In 2014, I posted Carefully Craft Your Arbitration Clause if You Want Some, But not All, Disputes Arbitrated.  A decision a few months ago, Trustivo, LLC v. Anthem, Inc. is a reminder that if a contract has a broad arbitration provision, a party may have little chance of getting court intervention – even in situations  where… Continue Reading

Give Employees a Chance to Explain Before Terminating Them

Posted in Contracts, Discipline & Performance Management, Hiring, Pre-Litigation Considerations

As regular readers of this blog know, a day that is scheduled to be filled with relatively routine and non-controversial matters can get turned upside and require immediate action without any advance notice. One such situation occurs when information comes to light that an employee is unfit to continue in his or her current position… Continue Reading

Don’t Take Needless Chances When It Comes to Personal Jurisdiction, Forum Selection and Choice of Law

Posted in Contracts, Jurisdiction, Venue and Choice of Law, Letters of Intent, Pre-Litigation Considerations

Not spelling out in your agreements, even in informal agreements, where disputes can be resolved and what law will govern them can lead to some unhappy results. That is exactly the position that United Excel Corporation and its president, Ky Hornbaker, now find themselves.

Know What You Are and Are Not Giving Up in a Release

Posted in Contracts, Settlements and Releases

Because over 95 percent of civil disputes are resolved without a final judgment, parties routinely enter into settlement agreements that include releases. Further, for those disputes that do not spawn formal litigation, it is not uncommon for in-house counsel or senior business executives to take the lead in a settlement. As such, it is important… Continue Reading

Track More Than Case Law When Drafting a Noncompete Covenant

Posted in Contracts, Noncompetition & Other Restrictive Covenants

No doubt, ensuring that any agreement is consistent with judicial precedent is critical if you want to enforce that agreement at some point in the future. Nevertheless, merely incorporating precedential concepts or language into an agreement may not be enough to get your client to where it wants to be, and may even result in… Continue Reading

Make Sure You Can Afford to Pay a Bond Before Seeking an Injunction

Posted in Contracts, Injunctions and Attachments, Pre-Litigation Considerations

In order to obtain a an injunction under federal law, the moving party has to show each of the following: (i) It has a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim. (ii) Without injunctive relief, it would risk suffering irreparable harm. (iii) Such harm outweighs the irreparable harm that the non-moving party would… Continue Reading

Don’t Overlook The Need to Show Irreparable Harm When Seeking Injunctive Relief to Enforce a Non-Compete

Posted in Contracts, Injunctions and Attachments, Noncompetition & Other Restrictive Covenants, Pre-Litigation Considerations

When seeking preliminary injunctive relief to enforce a non-compete, the moving party is often focused on how obvious it is that the defendant breached the parties’ agreement. As 7-Eleven recently learned, however, even when there is a valid and enforceable noncompetition provision and a clear breach of it, unless you can show that you will… Continue Reading

Two Ways to Use Your Letter of Intent to Lock up a Deal – Maybe, For Good!

Posted in Contracts, Letters of Intent

Letters of intent (LOI) are routinely used after business people have reached some degree of common ground on a potential deal. Sometimes an LOI comes very early on, before the parties know whether an ultimate agreement is likely or not. In other situations, however, LOI’s are entered into only after there is agreement on all… Continue Reading