Judge Smails was Right! But there is a Limit When it Comes to Non-Competes

(SPOILER ALERT – CLICK THROUGH TO NEXT PAGE FOR THE ARTICLE AND A CLASSIC VIDEO CLIP)

If you know me, you know that I do a LOT of work in the non-compete/restrictive covenant space. A recent article in The New York Times discusses the impact that restrictive covenants can have on the work place. (Link on next page.)

Employment lawyers know this, but workers are often astonished to learn that they’ve signed away their right to leave for a competitor. Timothy Gonzalez, an hourly laborer who shoveled dirt for a fast-food-level wage, was sued after leaving one environmental drilling company for another. Phillip Barone, a midlevel salesman and Air Force veteran, was let go from his job after his old company sent a cease-and-desist letter saying he had signed a noncompete.

Such an inquiry is nothing new; there have long been articles on Jimmy John’s use of covenants for sandwich makers and summer camp counselors. Continue reading

Hey – That’s NOT Your Property! Even if you “Own” It!

Alright, so the heading is a bit misleading. But I really wanted you to read this post!

The simple fact is that  – when talking about Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in Georgia – it is a true statement.  Kind of.

LLCs are a very popular form of incorporation. They can have one member or a hundred. And they can be created with the click of a button and payment to the Secretary of State, all without having to first create an underlying set of corporate documents.

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When A Business Divorce and Facebook Page Go Bad…

This week, we look at the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling in Davis v. VCP South, LLC et al., 297 Ga. 616, 774 S.E.2d 606 (2015), reconsideration denied (July 27, 2015).  But I want to focus on two things – how to value a LLC when it’s owned 50/50 and the evolving role that Facebook and social media can play in business divorces. Continue reading

When is a Loser a Winner?

Normally, when a jury finds for a claimant, but then awards no damages, then that is viewed as a defense verdict.  After all, damages are generally a required element of a claim.

But if the jury finds for a claimant, but awards zero damages – are they a “prevailing party”?  At least one panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals says yes.

In HA&W Financial Advisors LLC v. Johnson, an employer (HA&W Financial) sued an employee (Johnson) under an employment agreement.  A15A2298 (Ga. App. April 19, 2016).  The contract had a contractual attorneys’ fees provision that entitled “the prevailing party” to recover fees if either party sought to enforce the agreement. Continue reading

How to Not Dissolve an LLC Without Trying

Sometimes common sense makes too much sense, even if the plaintiff “drove and parked erratically while wearing indecent attire, fed numerous stray cats and raccoons, and ‘danc[ed] backward in a Michael Jackson moon-walking manner along the streets of Vick’s, wearing a belly dancer costume, in an inappropriate and bizarre manner’.”

For instance, can asking for something automatically equal getting what you ask for? In Crumpton v. Vick’s Mobile Homes, LLC et al., 779 S.E.2d 136 (Ga. App. 2015), Ms. Crumpton filed a petition to dissolve various LLCs. Her brother (why does it seem like these are always family disputes?) argued that Ms. Crumpton was no longer a member of the LLCs because she filed a petition to dissolve the LLCs. The brother cited O.C.G.A. § 14-11-601.1(b)(4)(D), which provides that a member ceases to be a member of an LLC if the member “fil[ed] a petition . . . seeking for the member any reorganization, . . ., dissolution, or similar relief under any statute, law, or regulation.”

Kind of a chicken or the egg argument, right?

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Yet Another Reason Why Employee Handbooks Matter

Although this blog is not intended to address the many statutory protections that govern the workplace (there are many other blogs that do that quite well), a recent decision from the Eleventh Circuit reiterates the importance of following employee handbooks during the disciplinary process.

In Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, No 14-14596, 2016 WL 158820 (11th Cir. Jan. 14, 2016), a transgender employee – whose employment had been nominally terminated for sleeping on the job – asserted Title VII claims against her employer. Continue reading