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Professional/Fiduciary Liability Representative Matters

Represented a Manufacturer in One of the First Cases Filed in the United States Under the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act

Represented a manufacturer in one of the first cases filed in the United States under the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) to obtain injunctive relief in the U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois, against the company’s Chief Science Officer and a new start-up competitor he joined. The firm’s client specialized in fitness equipment. As the TRO papers disclosed, for over a year (while drawing a salary from the company), the inventor worked with his employer’s primary distributor to secretively develop a competitive technology, feeding all of the trade secrets to the new competitor to develop the second generation of the client’s technology. By bringing the case under the new DTSA, the firm obtained a TRO maintaining jurisdiction in Federal Court under the DTSA. The TRO included broad injunctive relief putting a halt to sales of the competitive product, escrowing any ill-gotten profits, and resulting in a favorable settlement following Court-ordered mediation.

Represented a Premiere Financial Institution

Represented a premiere financial institution in prosecution of claims against two former bank employees who left the client’s employment to join a competitor. The ex-employees were bound by confidentiality agreements and had agreed not to solicit their employer’s customers for a period of time. Nevertheless, between them they took hundreds of confidential documents from the client and were actively soliciting several customers. Kaufman & Company filed for injunctive relief in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas against the former employees and their new employer. The new employer produced more records and agreed to forensically remediate all of the client’s documents that had been introduced into its system by the bankers. Sanctions were obtained against the lawyer for one of the defendants due to failure to comply with a Court discovery order, and the Court issued a Preliminary Injunction against both Defendants’ further use of trade secrets including prospect lists, and ordered all data and documents turned over to our client.

Won verdict for plaintiff, a closely-held New Jersey corporation and its Italian-based majority shareholder

After seven-week bench trial in New Jersey State Chancery Court obtained judgments in favor of client awarding substantial damages for lost profits and attorneys’ fees for breaches of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of loyalty, theft of trade secrets and confidential information and related conspiracy, as well as and tortious interference in business opportunity. Judgments were against the company’s minority shareholder and former COO. Also, won defense verdicts as to counterclaims and third-party claims against the company and its majority shareholder. Court also found in favor of plaintiff the defendants’ spoliation of evidence and violation of the Court’s injunction order. Successfully obtained a TRO, immediately after filing the action, directing defendants to turn over all of their personal computers and electronic devices for forensic examination, as well as an order of non-competition by the former Director and preliminarily enjoining defendants from utilizing the company’s trade secrets, confidential and proprietary information.

Won Settlement in Litigation Against Financial Institutions, Advisory Firm and Law Firm Regarding Real Estate Investments Made By Family Trusts

Steve Kaufman served as lead counsel in Federal Court litigation on behalf of family trusts and their beneficiaries for claims against several banks, a real estate advisory firm, and a law firm regarding real estate investments made on behalf of the Plaintiffs. The claims asserted were valued over $80 million against the parties included breaches of fiduciary duty, standard of care, and negligence as well as RICO claims against the law firm. The matter resulted in a confidential settlement and sealed court records regarding the results.

Obtained Substantial Confidential Settlements for Major Financial Institution

Steve Kaufman successfully obtained sizeable settlements on behalf of a major financial institution in multiple professional liability claims against outside-counsel law firms. The case involved tax and pension plan advice.

Successfully Obtained Settlement for Large Northeast Ohio Foundation

During the course of a bench trial in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Steve Kaufman, as lead trial counsel, successfully obtained a significant settlement for a trustee of a large Northeast Ohio foundation in claims of breach of fiduciary duty against co-trustees of the foundation. The case arose out of the sale of a public company that controlled the foundation and in which the foundation held significant shares. In part, the claims challenged the spin-off of the control of the foundation to lifetime control of some of the defendant fiduciaries.

Won a Unanimous Verdict in Ohio Supreme Court on Behalf of Limited Partner Investors

Steve Kaufman served as lead trial counsel in the representation of limited partner investor plaintiffs regarding a residential condominium development project resulting in a unanimous landmark Ohio Supreme Court decision in favor of the investors and against the developer’s law firm. The underlying claims, in addition to legal malpractice, included claims against the developer for breaches of fiduciary duty and securities fraud. A highly favorable settlement was obtained following the victory in the Ohio Supreme Court.