Although business owners recognize the value of professional legal counsel in business formation and related startup matters, not everyone is aware that the assistance of a competent lawyer is equally critical in the dissolution of a business partnership or corporation.
In addition, few realize that the same emotions and factors that drive spouses to marital dissolution often drive business partners to separate as well. As with almost any “divorce,” the fair division of assets and debts is a paramount concern. What trade secrets, business processes, ideas, client lists or other assets does the departed party have a right to take? What “premarital agreements” or non-compete agreements are legally enforceable?
At The Reha Law Firm LLC, we provide creative and highly experienced counsel and representation in corporate governance disputes involving directors, shareholders, partnerships, LLCs, corporations and other parties.
Founding attorney John F. Reha has more than 30 years of experience in this area of law as well as related areas such as covenants not to compete, unfair competition claims and intangible asset protection. John not only represents clients as an advocate in these matters, but he has also been requested by other attorneys to bring his extensive knowledge in this area to their assistance, serving either as special co-counsel or as an expert witness.
There are non-statutory protections for intangible assets available to businesses under state common law. Among these are the doctrine of the duty of loyalty, which certain employees owe to their employer, as well as the doctrine of trade values or business values. Such values are considered information that is not itself secret, but which is nonetheless valuable, and which represents the manifestation of the owner’s labor, time or expense, or which would be saleable for money.
These doctrines may provide substantial protection for a business owner, but resort should be made to an attorney such as John F. Reha who focuses on intangible information protection matters. For instance, the duty of loyalty may not apply to all employees, and qualifying non-secret information such as a trade value depends upon a number of factors which competent counsel can analyze.
In addition, Colorado has adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which sets forth requirements for information to be deemed a trade secret, including a requirement of measures by the owner to protect confidentiality. Colorado also has criminal statutory provisions governing theft of trade secrets.
Colorado law clearly places a burden on businesses to protect information, capital and intangible assets. A number of fundamental issues exist in every competition restriction question. Management and ownership must devote extra care to the creation of workable, enforceable protection systems within Colorado’s unique legal framework.
Likewise, if employees have had their employment terminated or desire to leave their current employer and start their own business or become employed by a competitor, they need to be aware of Colorado’s unique legal setting when planning their exit and transition strategies. Waiting until the last moment to contact knowledgeable counsel in these situations may prove fatal.
Effective document and system preparation and preservation measures, as well as effective pre-termination strategies, are often the key means by which an employer may effectively protect itself from post-termination competition or by which an employee will be emancipated to pursue his or her profession with minimal risk of liability.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with our highly experienced Denver corporate litigation attorney for governance disputes and related matters by calling The Reha Law Firm LLC at (303) 717-3632(303) 717-3632, or contact us online. From our office in Littleton, we represent clients in Denver and throughout the state.
DISCLAIMER: This information is being provided as a public service, and by doing so, neither The Reha Law Firm LLC nor any attorney associated with The Reha Law Firm LLC is providing any legal advice of any nature to any person or firm, whatsoever. If the reader believes that he or she is in need of legal advice as to the issues discussed herein or for any other reason, he or she is advised to retain an attorney of choice to provide appropriate legal representation.
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$4.2 Million Unfair Competition Award Upheld on Appeal. John was lead counsel in Optimus Corp. v. Synergetics, Inc., Colorado Court of Appeals No. 12CA1910. On March 6, 2014, the Court of Appeals issued its Opinion unanimously affirming a decision in which $2,238,042 actual damages... Read more
Auto-Bicycle Collision Generates Two Limits Settlements. In 2012-2013, John represented a bicyclist who was struck by a pickup truck while riding. The cyclist incurred significant long-term cognitive injuries. John obtained a settlement against the driver at fault for the large limits of that driver's auto policy... Read more
Another Auto-Bicycle Collision Generates Limits Settlement. In 2012-2013, John represented another bicyclist who was struck by a car while riding. The cyclist incurred severe neuromuscular, nerve and spinal injuries. John obtained a limits settlement against the insurance policy... Read more