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Business Fraud, Trade Secret and Unfair Competition

Fraud, trade secret and unfair competition matters typically arise in two general contexts: former employees of a company start a competing business or go to work for a competitor of the prior employer; a  transaction with another business, or investment in a proposed or ongoing business, or a change in the terms of an actual or proposed business or investment transaction.  The clients in these matters usually are individual entrepreneurs or investors, or business entities, who were severely damaged based upon either retaliatory litigation by the prior employer, factual misrepresentations or omissions, or the suppression of information or facts which the adverse party was obligated to disclose as part of the transaction in issue.

Business Fraud, Trade Secret and Unfair Competition matters which we have handled include the following:

  • Plaintiff limited partners filed suit against investment advisor for aiding and abetting a fraud by general partner in conjunction with re-financing of a Mall owned by limited partership which was then lost through forced sale. Verdict:  $8,516,692. Stoltenberg v. Ampton Investments, Inc. (III), 215 Cal.App.4th 1225 (2013).

  • Plaintiff entertainment company brought fraud claims against investment firm which failed to perform under a firm commitment underwriting agreement. Verdict:  $5,500,000.

  • Plaintiff real estate investor defrauded by developer out of $1.2 million, sued under Civil RICO and fraud claims. Cross-complaint of $1.5 million on development agreements by developer. Verdict and Judgment for plaintiff investor: $3,800,000 on complaint; defense verdict on cross-complaint.

  • Real estate purchased with $270,000 from plaintiff limited partners was sold by general partner, who kept all proceeds and hid transaction from limited partners for two years.  Verdict:  $1,648,250. 

  • Gold mine promoter sued client investors for unpaid assessments under joint venture agreement.  Client investors cross-complained for declaratory relief of no obligation on assessments, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Judgment for client investors on complaint, and cross-complaint. Cascade Energy & Metals v. Telegraph Mine Associates, 896 F.2d 1557 (10th Cir. 1990).

  • Plaintiff upholstery fabric distributor's supply contract terminated by fabric mill, which opened a competing warehouse at below-cost prices. Verdict:  $1,100,000.


  • Former employer sued client ex-employees who were alleged to have taken and used trade secrets and/or confidential information of employer in starting a competitive business.  Settled after opening statements.

  • Former employer sued client ex-employee who was alleged to have down-loaded employer data and and trade secrets prior to resignation and used data in new employment with competitor. 

  • Plaintiff franchisee lost $160,000 franchise investment and claimed  fraud, unfair competition against franchiser for competing in franchisee’s geographic area, and adjacent areas, with below cost sales.  Verdict $800,000.

  • Plaintiff e-commerce data provider sued to recover unpaid profits under oral joint venture agreement with website retailer. 

  • Plaintiff fraud claim against semi-conductor start-up company for failure to provide 7.5% ownership interest for proprietary chip technology.   Verdict:   7.5% ownership, $175,000.

  • Plaintiff investor brought securities fraud claim against brokerage firm for misrepresentations of sale representative.  Judgment: $360,000.  Seymour v. Summa Vista Cinema, Inc., 809 F.2d 1385 (9th Cir. 1987).

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