In a business environment defined by ever increasing competition and technological evolution, some of the world’s most sophisticated companies are repeatedly turning to Weil to defend and protect their vital trade secrets and business practices.
We utilize our global footprint to partner with clients on complex trade secrets issues regardless of the nature of the transaction, venue for the litigation, or headquarters of the client. Importantly, we have an established presence in the traditional “hotbeds” where trade secrets and related IP and employment issues are frequently litigated, including California, New York, and Texas. This presence allows us to efficiently handle the most complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes.
In addition to our experience handling significant trade secrets disputes in the courtroom, Weil also has experience conducting internal investigations and pre-litigation counseling to top-tier companies. Weil is regularly retained to provide pre-dispute counseling with respect to novel or other “first-of-kind” issues that often need to be addressed completely, discreetly and expeditiously, whether working for a potential claimant or potential defendant. We regularly advise, counsel, and train clients with respect to issues relating to non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements and trade secret protection.
HBC retained Weil in 2015 when HBC was hiring a new Chief Information Officer, Janet Schalk, who had a non-compete agreement with her prior employer, Kohl’s Department Stores. Weil counseled HBC with respect to the hiring of Ms. Schalk, noting that her non-compete agreement with Kohl’s was overbroad and likely unenforceable. When Kohl’s filed a complaint against Ms. Schalk in Wisconsin state court seeking to enforce the non-compete, Weil then led the litigation defense. In this action, Kohl’s moved for a temporary injunction to block Ms. Schalk from commencing employment with HBC, but after a two-day evidentiary hearing, the judge denied Kohl’s motion based on his finding that Kohl’s failed to show a reasonable probability of success on the merits. Specifically, the judge found that Kohl’s failed to demonstrate that the restriction on Ms. Schalk was reasonably necessary for the protection of Kohl’s business interests. Ms. Schalk, following the court’s denial of Kohl’s motion, has commenced employment as the new CIO of HBC. The plaintiff subsequently dropped the case entirely.
Weil is representing Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP), one of the most prestigious financial services boutiques on Wall Street, in litigation against three former partners and one former managing director in PWP’s Financial Restructuring Group. PWP terminated the former partners’ and managing director’s tenure for Cause after discovering that they had been conspiring to lift out PWP’s Restructuring Group to a new competing firm they were secretly forming, in breach of their contractual non-solicitation obligations and fiduciary duties to PWP. As a result of the terminations for Cause, the partners forfeited all of their PWP equity and deferred compensation, which they claim is worth in excess of $80 million. PWP filed suit against the former partners and managing director in New York State Supreme Court, seeking a declaration that the contractual non-solicitation covenants to which they were subject were valid and enforceable and PWP properly terminated them for Cause for violating those covenants, and asserting a variety of other claims. The defendant former employees filed counterclaims against PWP and certain PWP partners, seeking a declaration that the non-solicitation covenants in defendants’ partnership or employment agreements were void and defendants’ terminations for Cause were invalid.
Separately, we also brought a successful action in Minnesota state court against one of UHG’s former high-level employees who violated his post-employment restrictive obligations and began work for a competitor in a comparable position, seeking, among other relief, a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. After UHG successfully obtained a temporary restraining order, it resolved the matter with the former UHG employee on highly favorable terms.
Weil represented WoodSpring Hotels, an extended stay hotel company, in connection with litigation commenced in Kansas by industry competitor Extended Stay America hotels (ESA) against WoodSpring, WoodSpring’s former Vice President of Sales, and a former IT consultant of both WoodSpring and ESA. ESA brought eleven claims against the defendants, alleging misappropriation and use of ESA’s confidential information and trade secrets, which it claimed occurred with the knowledge and acquiescence of certain members of WoodSpring management.
Weil developed a strategy to immediately turn over all materials, and focused our efforts on developing a model that showed the potential impact on ESA to be far more limited than they had suggested. Weil successfully negotiated ESA’s withdrawal of its motions for expedited discovery and preliminary injunction at the outset of the case, allowing the parties to avoid costly and rigorous discovery. After a successful mediation, the parties reached a quick settlement despite the challenging and complex set of facts. A consent judgment and permanent injunction were entered by the court in July 2017.
Weil’s Restrictive Covenant and Trade Secrets practice is consistently recognized among the top 10 in the United States.”
Legal 500 US 2018