Results: Unfair Competition
Project FasTags, Inc. v. Fascenelli, et al.
Klein & Wilson represented one of two partners in the breakup of a lucrative partnership. In addition to various breach of fiduciary duty claims, Klein & Wilson represented the client in claims of copyright and trademark violation. Klein & Wilson was able to achieve a settlement resulting in a payment to its client of just over $1 million. In addition, the client retained control of the business.
American Reprographics Company v. Brazo
American Reprographics Company v. Crisp Enterprises, Inc.
Klein & Wilson's client was accused of raiding plaintiff's business and hiring away approximately 50 employees, as well as soliciting dozens of customers who had formerly used plaintiff as a reprographics service. This case could have destroyed Klein & Wilson's client, which had grown dramatically until the lawsuit. Klein & Wilson was able to find insurance coverage for the client and was instrumental in achieving a settlement that saved the company and helped it move forward on its tremendous growth.
Doe Corporation v. Doe Corporation
Klein & Wilson represented a credit report reseller ("Client") against a competitor which claimed that the Client misappropriated trade secrets, interfered with customer contracts, unfairly competed, and caused the competitor to lose approximately $8 million in profits. The competitor contended that the Client obtained the competitor's secrets from the competitor's attorney and former employees, who left the competitor's employment to work for the Client. After the competitor proved that it lost hundreds of customers to the Client, Klein & Wilson obtained testimony from the competitor's former sales agents, proving the competitor employed unfair business practices to persuade hundreds of the Client's customers to move over to the competitor. The competitor's "unclean hands" was so significant, that it reduced its demand to only $200,000. At the same time, Klein & Wilson pursued the Client's insurance carriers for bad faith, ultimately settling the case in a manner which cost the Client nothing. Klein & Wilson was also successful in having the majority of the Client's fees and costs reimbursed.
Tropicale Foods, Inc. (d.b.a. Helados Mexico) v. Helados La Mexicana, Inc.
Klein & Wilson filed an action for trademark infringement and unfair competition to protect its client's trademark "Helados Mexico." Klein & Wilson settled the case by persuading the defendant to stop selling products with the name "Helados La Mexicana" on them and to change its corporate name.
Roanja Planning, d.b.a. Westside Door & Moulding v. Farzad Halavi, d.b.a. Halco Construction, et al.
Klein & Wilson's client was sued for fraud, restraint of trade, and unfair business practices arising out of a failed construction project. Klein & Wilson filed a demurrer challenging plaintiffs' claims. Right before the hearing, plaintiffs dismissed Klein & Wilson's client from the case with prejudice.
Paleteria La Michoacana, Inc. v. Peña
Klein & Wilson represented the former employee of a large ice cream company which alleged that Klein & Wilson's client took the employer's customer list and formed a competing company. By the time the employee retained Klein & Wilson, the court had already entered a preliminary injunction against the employee, preventing him from soliciting business from over 700 customers in California. Klein & Wilson immediately filed and won a motion to disqualify the employer's counsel because it had previously represented the employee in another case, creating a conflict of interest. Klein & Wilson then conducted discovery which persuaded the employer's new attorney the case had no merit. Subsequently, Klein & Wilson negotiated a settlement whereby his client paid nothing, the employer dismissed the case with prejudice, and the injunction was dissolved.
Gutierrez v. Gutierrez
Klein & Wilson represented defendant Ruben Gutierrez in an action filed by Ruben's brother Ignacio. Ignacio was represented by Downey Brand, Sacramento's largest law firm. Ruben and Ignacio had a successful ice cream manufacturing business. In order to meet customers' demands, Ruben and Ignacio decided to purchase a building in which to conduct their manufacturing operation. The bank required a partnership agreement before it would lend money to purchase the building. Accordingly, the brothers signed a partnership agreement which contained a 10 year covenant not to compete which was triggered if one of the brothers voluntarily withdrew from the partnership. Approximately two weeks after the brothers signed the partnership agreement, they decided to terminate their partnership over differences which had been festering for years. The brothers then signed a dissolution agreement which did not contain a covenant not to compete but did contain an integration clause stating the dissolution agreement contained all the terms of the brothers' final agreement. Ignacio paid Ruben $1 million for the business. After Ruben started a new business which threatened Ignacio's success, Ignacio sued Ruben for damages and an injunction, alleging that Ruben withdrew from the partnership and was, therefore, bound by the covenant not to compete. Klein & Wilson filed several motions to end the lawsuit on the grounds the dissolution agreement was integrated and the parol evidence rule barred a jury from considering the covenant not to compete in the partnership agreement. The trial court denied the motions and the case proceeded to trial. The jury awarded Ignacio significant damages, and the trial court entered a permanent injunction prohibiting Ruben from manufacturing and selling ice cream in California. Klein & Wilson appealed the judgment, and the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed. The Court of Appeal agreed with Klein & Wilson's analysis of the parol evidence rule and ordered the trial court to enter judgment for Ruben and vacate the injunction.