Business Fraud, Negligence & Misconduct
We litigate fraud, concealment and misrepresentation cases. We also handle embezzlements, and can assist with locking down assets before they disappear.
It is not uncommon for sellers to puff up their products or services to convince a buyer to make a deal. But if puffery turns into falsehood or concealment of key information, the law provides a remedy. There are any number of situations where fraud, in the legal sense, occurs. In the sale of a business, the seller may falsify earnings, or conceal debt to accomplish a sale. In business investment situations, you may have been told you would receive guaranteed returns or that your money would be returned to you at any time. This type of intentional fraud can entitle you to recover money damages, and in some cases, punitive damages.
The law also recognized “negligent mispresentation” in circumstances where the party making the misrepresentation spoke without a reasonable basis for making a representation. Negligent misrepresentation requires the parties to have a relationship that creates a duty. If that duty exists, you may be able to recover damages for negligent misrepresentation.
Many business owners encounter problems with employees, including high ranking executives, who embezzle money while employed, or steal valuable trade secrets, customer lists and sometimes key employees when they leave.
Embezzlement cases require quick and decisive action to preserve the maximum amount of assets before they vanish into thin air. We have experience bringing these cases on behalf of businesses, and taking the legal steps to protect your stolen money and property from being transferred or sold. We can help investigate the source of the theft and the various methods used to conceal the theft, and help hold the embezzler responsible. In extreme cases, we can assist in presenting the case to law enforcement when criminal prosecution by the government is appropriate.
Theft of Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
Trade secret theft can be extremely damaging to companies that suffer these losses due to dishonest employees or competitors. We can litigate on behalf of companies that have suffered from the loss of protected information. Trade secrets can include customer lists that you have spent considerable amounts of money to compile. We can help stop the use of your trade secrets or recover damages and penalties against the party responsible.
Unlawful competitive behavior by an employee during employment is prohibited. But after an employee leaves your employment, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, California places a premium on allowing employees to work wherever they choose. This includes your competitors. The best strategy is to have secured your trade secrets and to take precautions to avoid their theft. But that does not always prevent all theft. We can pursue the trade theft claims without running afoul of the pro-employee law in this state.
We can also assist in enforcing non-competition agreements that accompany the sale of a business or its goodwill This is one of the very limited circumstances in which non-competition agreements are not deemed void under the law in California.
Business Advice and Transactional Matters
Many of the clients we represent in litigation seek out our expertise on a range of business matters as well, and we counsel our clients in situations where litigation is not necessary. We also work closely with colleagues who can provide specialized legal services for complex transactions and business deals such as mergers, acquisitions, licensing agreements and real estate matters.