SubscribeAdd blog to your RSS feed
FeedbackWe'd like to hear from you
- The CEO of iGate Had an Affair with An Employee, Was Fired and Is Now Suing the Company for Severance - Putting at Issue the Classic Question of "Cause" and Reminding Us of a Few Best Practices
- The Inbox – December Rain Edition
- California Court SLAPPs Down Employee’s Malicious Prosecution Suit Based on Employer’s Trade Secret Case Against Him
- Upcoming Suits by Suits Whistleblower Webinar – Chance for Free Registration!
- Visions of an Improper Noncompete Provision: Texas Court Rejects LASIK Clinic’s Injunction Request Against Former Doctor
- November 2013 Monthly Roundup
- Skunks, Conquistadores, and Killer Balloons: Why Thanksgiving Is The Best Tuesday (or Possibly Thursday) of the Year
- Texas Strictly Construes Application of Mandatory Arbitration Clause Despite Superseding Agreement With No Such Clause
- Will Fiduciary Liability Insurance Cover Severance Agreement Payments If The Company Can’t Make Them?
- The Inbox, pre-Turkey Day edition
- After-Acquired Evidence
- Age Discrimination
- Arbitration and ADR
- Breach of Contract
- Civil Litigation
- Dodd-Frank Act
- Equal Pay
- Executive Compensation
- Family Medical Leave
- Fiduciary Duties
- Monthly Roundup
- Motions to Dismiss
- Noncompete Agreements
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Preliminary Injunction
- Religious Discrimination
- Sarbanes-Oxley Act
- Severance Agreements – Change-in-Control Provisions
- Social Media
- Statutes of limitations
- Summary Judgment
- The Basics
- The Inbox
- Title VII
- Trade Secrets
- Vicarious Liability
- Wage and Hour
- Workplace Conditions (Occupational Safety and Health)
- Wrongful Termination
Blogs We Like:
The AmLaw Daily
The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes
Connecticut Employment Law Blog
The D&O Diary
Delaware Employment Law Blog
DeNovo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog
The Employer Handbook
Executive Pay Matters
The Federal Criminal Appeals Blog
Grand Jury Target
Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home: What You Need To Know Before You Scream “I Quit,” Get Fired, Or Decide to Sue the Bastards
Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog
Virginia Appellate News & Analysis
WSJ Law Blog
Ellen D. Marcus is a partner in Zuckerman Spaeder’s Washington, DC office, who represents clients in civil litigation throughout the country. Her clients have included CEOs, CFOs, publicly-traded companies, closely-held family businesses, consumers, migrant workers, lawyers and law firms.
Showing 69 posts by Ellen D. Marcus.
The CEO of iGate Had an Affair with An Employee, Was Fired and Is Now Suing the Company for Severance - Putting at Issue the Classic Question of "Cause" and Reminding Us of a Few Best Practices
In May, iGate sacked its CEO Phaneesh Murthy, claiming that the Board decided to do so after its outside legal counsel found that Mr. Murthy’s failure to report his relationship with a subordinate employee violated iGate’s policy. Outside counsel made that finding as part of their investigation of the relationship and the employee’s claim of sexual harassment. (For spicier accounts of the office affair check out the news stories from the time – like this one.) Last week, Mr. Murthy sued iGate in California state court claiming that his termination was not with cause and that he is therefore entitled under his employment agreement and company stock plans to compensation and benefits that the company has refused to pay. Read More ›
On December 10, 2013, Suits by Suits contributing editors Ellen D. Marcus and Jason M. Knott will present a live webinar titled “Whistleblower Watch: Big Issues in the Latest Whistleblower Cases Under Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the Internal Revenue Code.” (For more details, click the link.)
Now, you have the chance to win a free registration for this upcoming webinar (retail price $149 for BNA subscribers and $249 for non-subscribers). All you have to do is either tweet a link to this post, making sure to reference our Twitter handle (@suitsbysuits), or retweet the link to this post that we’ll put up on Twitter. You can also qualify by commenting in this post with a question for Ellen and Jason to address during the webinar. The deadline to tweet, retweet, or comment is Monday, December 9. On the morning of Monday , December 9, we’ll randomly pick the winner and let him or her know by e-mail or Twitter message.
You may also enter the raffle by following these instructions.
If you’d like to go ahead and register for the webinar, click here.
Here at Suits by Suits, we are thankful that the news about executive-employer disputes keeps flowing like gravy. This past month, we focused a lot of attention on non-compete agreements, many of which met the same fate as an unpardoned turkey. On a day as cold as chilled cranberry sauce, we sent a live correspondent to cover the oral argument in Lawson v. FMR LLC, in which the Supreme Court will decide whether employees of privately-held contractors of public companies have viable Sarbanes-Oxley claims. Finally, as per our holiday tradition, we recapped the history of Thanksgiving, in a post as entertaining as the most memorable Cowboys loss.
- Skunks, Conquistadores, and Killer Balloons: Why Thanksgiving Is the Best Tuesday (or Possibly Thursday) of the Year
November 27, 2013 | P. Andrew Torrez
- Texas Strictly Construes Application of Mandatory Arbitration Clause Despite Superseding Agreement with No Such Clause
November 25, 2013 | P. Andrew Torrez
- Will Fiduciary Liability Insurance Cover Severance Agreement Payments If The Company Can’t Make Them?
November 22, 2013 | William A. Schreiner, Jr.
- Upcoming Suits by Suits Webinar: Whistleblower Watch
November 21, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- It Was The Added "0" That Did It -- Among Other Things
November 19, 2013 | William A. Schreiner, Jr.
- I Can't Quit You! - Why Quitting a Company May Not Mean Quitting Fiduciary Duties in Virginia
November 14, 2013 | Ellen D. Marcus
- Argument Recap: Five Takeaways from Lawson v. FMR LLC
November 13, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- What I Don't Know About Your Non-Compete Can't Hurt Me, Right?
November 11, 2013 | Ellen D. Marcus
- Argument Preview: What to Look For in Lawson v. FMR LLC
November 7, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- “Man Bites Dog” in the Fourth Circuit: Court Reverses Arbitrator’s Award and Enforces Release
November 6, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- The Basics: Dodd-Frank vs. Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Law
November 5, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
If you are interested in more information about legal issues involving executives and their employers, on December 10, 2013, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP partners and Suits by Suits contributing editors Ellen D. Marcus and Jason M. Knott will present a webinar titled “Whistleblower Watch: Big Issues in the Latest Whistleblower Cases Under Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the Internal Revenue Code.” In the session, Ms. Marcus and Mr. Knott will discuss the basics of these whistleblower and anti-retaliation provisions and address new developments in the law, including the Sarbanes-Oxley case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. To register, click here.
- Partners of the company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer testified this week at a preliminary injunction hearing in a state court in Philly in a case that they brought against their other partners alleging that having editor Bill Marimow fired violated the company’s operating agreement. They seek a court order directing that Marimow be reinstated.
- On Wednesday, a federal appeals court (also in Philly) affirmed a trial court’s summary judgment ruling against Janis Stacy, an engineer and transgender person, in her case against her former employer LSI Corp. for gender identity discrimination. Stacy was let go by the company after transitioning from male to female. The appeals court agreed with the trial court that Stacy did not have evidence of discriminatory intent to overcome the company’s evidence that she was terminated as part of a larger reduction-in-force due to the declining economy. You can find the opinion in Stacy v. LSI Corp. here.
- Film director Lynn Ramsay reported this week that she has not been served with the lawsuit recently filed against her in New Mexico for breach of contract by the producers of Jane Got a Gun – a Western movie in the making starring Natalie Portman. Ramsay had been the original director on the project. The producers allege that she accepted a large chunk of her salary under the agreement but didn’t show for the first day of production and behaved badly on the set.
- A trial court in Atlanta ruled on Tuesday that the former Compliance Manager of BlueLinx Holdings, Inc. does not have a right to a jury trial in his case against BlueLinx for allegedly retaliating against him in violation of the Dodd-Frank Act after he blew the whistle on the company to the SEC and the PCAOB for allegedly excessive stock-based compensation for the company’s CEO. The whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act are a frequent topic on Suits by Suits and will be examined closely in this upcoming webinar.
In the case filed earlier this year in federal court in Virginia by spinal implant seller DePuy Synthes Sales, Inc. against two former employees and their current employer, DePuy’s competitor Sky Surgical, Inc., DePuy claims that Sky Surgical and the former employees conspired to breach the fiduciary duties that the former employees owed to DePuy by selling spinal implants to DePuy’s customers after they left DePuy. (DePuy also claims that Sky Surgical tortiously interfered with the former employees’ non-competes – the subject of our post on Tuesday.) We may think that quitting a company means quitting fiduciary duties, so that anything that the two former employees did after they left DePuy could not be breaching a duty to DePuy. But it’s not that simple. Not in Virginia, anyway. Read More ›
When a high-level employee leaves a company to work for a competitor, the employee and company are probably thinking about whether the employee is violating a non-compete agreement by working for the competitor and whether that could lead to a lawsuit (a frequent topic here on Suits by Suits). But what is the competitor thinking? What should the competitor be thinking? Competitors may think that they only have to worry about the agreements that they sign, not agreements that they haven’t signed, much less agreements that they don’t even know about. A recent decision by a federal magistrate judge in federal court in Virginia may be reason to rethink that attitude of "what I don’t know can’t hurt me." Read More ›
October was a busy month for us here at Suits By Suits – and, we imagine, for many of you as well. The baseball playoffs shut out our hometown Orioles and Nationals (although our sister office in Tampa got to cheer on, however briefly, the playoff-bound Rays), and the gods of the pigskin haven’t been much kinder to the Ravens or Redskins so far. But despite the fickle fortunes of professional sports, we still managed to crank out some pretty interesting content this month; if you missed any of our prior articles, here’s a summary and link to each one:
- Unpacking the Business Arguments For and Against Noncompetes
October 30, 2013 | P. Andrew Torrez
- Federal Court Rules That Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protection doesn’t Apply Internationally
October 24, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- I’ve got a secret. Or do I?
October 22, 2013 | William A. Schreiner, Jr.
- Federal Judge Upholds Jurisdiction Based on Employer’s Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) Claim against Former Employee
October 16, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- One Danger of Talking to the Press about a Pending Lawsuit Is Being Sued for Defamation (See Jacobs v. Las Vegas Sands)
October 14, 2013 | Ellen D. Marcus
- Court of Appeals and Federal Reserve Put the Kibosh on Troubled Bank’s Settlement with Exec
October 10, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- Indiana Appellate Court Sends Employer to Trial for Enforcing Non-Compete
October 8, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- Sleeping With the Enemy Executive
October 7, 2013 | John J. Connolly
- Is An Arbitration Agreement Valid If The Designated Arbitrator Is Unavailable?
October 2, 2013 | William A. Schreiner, Jr.
- James Whitney, the former CEO of Illinois-based Tallgrass Beef Company has sued the company and its owner Bill Curtis for unpaid wages. Whitney claims that he was not paid his regular wages starting in 2011 and was never paid his final compensation, and seeks to hold Curtis personally liable. The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act is not unusual in providing that an officer of a corporation can be found personally liable to an employee for violating the Act if the officer knowingly permitted the corporation to violate the Act.
- Dan Allen and the defense contractor CACI, where Allen had been CEO, agreed to modify Allen’s separation agreement to reduce his lump-sum cash severance from $1.6 million to $1 million, and, in return, his non-compete agreement has been made less restrictive. The company’s SEC filing describing the modification can be found here.
- Amicus (or friend of the court) briefs are pouring into the Supreme Court in the case of Lawson v. FMR, which is set for oral argument in November (see our own Jason Knott’s most recent post on the case) and raises the question of whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act protects employees of privately-held contractors and subcontractors of public companies from retaliation when they blow the whistle on suspected fraud. The WSJ reports that business groups and a group of former SEC officials (including former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox) are lining up on the side of the court finding that the employees are not protected, while the National Whistleblowers Center and other pro-whistleblower groups are lining up on the other side.
- We found interesting this commentary in Corporate Counsel earlier this week about reasons that companies with employees who blog at work should be mindful when considering whether to fire those employees for their blogging – including laws in some states that make it illegal to fire an employee for expressing political views, and federal and state laws protecting whistleblowers (including “whistlebloggers”) from retaliation for raising concerns about unlawful conduct in the workplace.
One Danger of Talking to The Press About a Pending Lawsuit Is Being Sued for Defamation (See Jacobs v. Las Vegas Sands)
"We cannot comment on pending litigation." You have no doubt seen that or a similar quote countless times from litigants in press coverage about ongoing lawsuits. But Sheldon Adelson did not trot out that refrain after he and the casino operator Las Vegas Sands (of which he is Chairman and CEO) were sued in Nevada state court by Steven Jacobs for breach of contract and wrongful termination. Jacobs had been President of Las Vegas Sands’ casinos in Macau but was fired in 2010. After Las Vegas Sands and Adelson moved to dismiss Jacobs’s lawsuit and a hearing was held on their motion, Adelson sent an e-mail to a Wall Street Journal reporter covering the hearing with this statement:
While I have largely stayed silent on the matter to this point, the recycling of [Jacobs’s] allegations must be addressed. We have a substantial list of reasons why Steve Jacobs was fired for cause and interestingly he has not refuted a single one of them. Instead, he has attempted to explain his termination by using outright lies and fabrications which seem to have their origins in delusion.
Jacobs promptly amended his complaint to add a new claim against Adelson for defamation. Read More ›
T.S. Eliot famously declared that “April is the cruelest month,” which got us thinking: what exactly is September, then? Typing “September is the” into Google gives us a fairly interesting grab-bag of responses. Wikipedia is, as you might expect, pretty literal (“September is the ninth month of the year.”) Thanks, Wikipedia! ESPN tells us that September is “the best month of the baseball season,” but something called “Investopedia” claims that September is the worst month for investing, and a bunch of other sites seem to agree. September is also apparently “National Preparedness Month” at the NOAA (link not available due to government shutdown); national “Library Card Sign-up Month”; “National Senior Center Month”; and even national Abortion Access Month.
Whew! With all of that taking place, you may have missed some of the stories we covered throughout the month of September, including the following:
- Fifth Circuit Sends Dispute Over Free Parking Back to Trial Court
September 24, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- More on Larry Conners and Noncompetes in Missouri
September 21, 2013 | P. Andrew Torrez
- Virginia Supreme Court Last Week: Courts Should Not Rule on Non-Compete's Enforceability in a Factual Vacuum
September 17, 2013 | Ellen D. Marcus
- Trade Secrets - Even if You Didn't Use or Disclose Them You Can Be Liable
September 17, 2013 | Ellen D. Marcus
- The Wall Street Journal: Noncompetes are "Innovation-Killing"
September 16, 2013 | P. Andrew Torrez
- Massachusetts Continues To Move Towards California On Noncompetes
September 12, 2013 | P. Andrew Torrez
- Cough Syrup Manufacturer Suffers Bad-Tasting Appellate Defeat
September 10, 2013 | Jason M. Knott
- If You Can't Be Fired For Being Old, Can You Be Fired For Being Old AND Ugly? Why This Is a Harder Question Than You Might Think
September 5, 2013 | P. Andrew Torrez
- How You Came To Have Today Off
September 2, 2013 | William A. Schreiner, Jr.