Employers frequently latch on to the idea of securing a temporary restraining order against former employees to prevent unfair competition, and some believe this is something they can accomplish without benefit of an attorney. This is a serious strategic error. Though the use of this particular legal maneuver can lead to an immediate halt to the activities in question, the process of presenting evidence can require unusual speed and detail, and the standard of proof required to achieve the desired result is unusually high. Representation by an experienced lawyer is essential to the success of the case.
It is natural to want to take immediate action when you believe that a former employee has your intellectual property or is likely to act on stolen trade secrets, and a temporary restraining order would definitely put a stop to the problem. But filing a request for that order means telling the court that the damage being done to your company cannot wait for the normal legal process and that your case needs to be heard immediately. The court will take this assertion seriously, and that means that you will need to be ready to present your case, sometimes on the same day that your claim is filed.
While at first glance this may seem like a victory, in truth it represents a problem. It is a real challenge to be prepared that quickly for any case, let alone to assemble the depth of evidence needed to show that the damage against you will be irreparable unless the temporary restraining order is issued. A simple assertion of concern will not be enough: The court will expect precise details and evidence of unfair competition activities, and without that type of documentation of wrongdoing there is a strong likelihood that the temporary restraining order will be denied.
Pursuing a temporary restraining order on your own may feel like the right thing to do in a situation you perceive as emergent, but it may end up derailing your entire case. When facing a situation where you are concerned about trade secrets, intellectual property violations or unfair competition, it is essential that you work with an experienced attorney who can provide you with a successful legal strategy. For more information on how we can help, contact us today.