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Commercial Litigation

As a small business enterprise, Stutzke Law understands the utmost importance of protecting your corporate entity from ruthless and unfair competitors, as well as vindictive current or former employees intent on injuring the enterprise for which you work so hard.  The damage that may be occasioned by trusting the wrong person can be nothing short of financially devastating to your business.

Conversely, it is essential for employees and consultants to understand and be aware of any restrictions that may be placed on their livelihood by way of common law or mutual agreement, especially in this down economy.  All too often, a prospective employee is shuffled a seemingly innocuous employment agreement at the same time he or she has been offered a lucrative position. It is imperative not to assume that the agreement contains boilerplate language, or is a mere formality.  If you do, you might find yourself unfairly limited in your future job opportunities, or - even worse -sitting at a deposition table, being unjustly accused of working for a direct competitor.

Here at Stutzke Law, we handle all aspects of commercial litigation on behalf of both small businesses and employees/consultants, including but not limited to the following:

Restrictive Covenants

Generally, a restrictive covenant is an agreement wherein an employee promises not to work for a direct competitor of his employer within certain geographical and durational limits. Similar agreements include covenants not to solicit active or former clients or employees of the employer towards the formation of a competing enterprise.

We routinely assist businesses in drafting employment agreements containing appropriate and enforceable restrictive covenants specifically tailored towards the nature of their industry.  We also review these agreements to ensure that they do not exceed the bounds of propriety, and, when necessary, institute action to prosecute or defend claims for violations of restrictive covenants.

Misappropriation of Trade secrets

We handle claims pertaining to the threatened or actual disclosure of trade secrets.  Examples of trade secrets include confidential client lists, customer files, and sensitive corporate financial information, the disclosure of which could be absolutely ruinous if placed in the wrong hands. As the saying goes, “loose lips sink ships”.  We assist in not only drafting agreements prohibiting the disclosure of your business’s proprietary information, but in taking fast and effective legal action in the event the proverbial cat has been let out of the bag. 

Tortious Interference with Contract/Prospective Economic Advantage

            A civil cause of action for tortious interference arises when a third party intentionally and maliciously interferes with another’s rights as per an existing contract, or with another’s reasonable expectation of economic gain. Examples of such conduct include wrongfully inducing a client to terminate services with a vendor, cutting out “the middleman”, or knowingly interfering with a prospective business deal.  Unfortunately, by the time the breach is discovered, litigation is usually immediately necessary. 

Breach of the Duty of Loyalty

An employee is vested with a duty of loyalty towards his or her employer.  This duty is violated when an employee acts in a manner so as to intentionally injure his employer’s financial interests, such as making disparaging commercial and/or personal remarks about the company over the internet, accepting simultaneous employment with a direct competitor, and/or making misrepresentations to the employer’s existing clients.  Conduct of this sort may be deterred by requesting prospective employees to execute agreements containing clauses clearly defining conduct constituting a breach of the duty, and even providing for damages in the event of a proven breach.

Unfair Competition

The common law tort of unfair competition occurs when a person or entity engages in unfair and unlawfully competitive business practices, such as the misappropriation of trade secrets, resulting in a direct and proximate loss to the victim company.  The tort is designed to compensate the corporate victim for losses occasioned by commercially inappropriate practices, and to deter conduct exceeding the boundaries of ordinary market competition.

The existence of any of the foregoing causes of action may justify emergent relief by way of an Order to Show Cause filed in the Chancery Division of the County in which your business is situated. The Order to Show Cause may request interim relief, such as an order barring an errant employee from disclosing trade secrets or contacting your clients.

Additionally, Stutzke Law will assist in the dissolution of partnerships and the winding up of small businesses in the Chancery Part.

Please contact us to discuss your matter today.

Telephone: 732-952-2903
Fax: 732-952-2905
Address: 515 Washington Road
Suite 2, Parlin, NJ 08859

New Jersey family law requires a court to make each decision regarding child custody or child support based entirely on the best interests of the child. As your legal counsel, our lawyers will help you work out a parenting plan that, whether you are married, divorced, in a domestic partnership, or are an unmarried parent, will protect your parental rights.