Stephen Riden Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “In family business dispute, appraisal right deemed waived.”

The article covers a decision by a Massachusetts Superior Court judge concerning a close corporation dispute. The decision was entered in the case titled Szawlowski Potato Farms, Inc., et al. v. Szawlowski, et al.

The decision addresses a situation involving a dispute among family members in a close corporation. The estate of one family member sought to exercise certain rights under the owners’ shareholder stock redemption agreement. However, after undertaking a close analysis of the parties’ agreements and communications, the court ruled that the estate waived its contractual right to seek an appraisal of the decedent’s ownership interest in the company.

In the article, Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

Boston attorney Stephen D. Riden said apparently it was particularly helpful to the companies that, in the notice of their intent to repurchase the decedent’s interest, they had flagged the trustee’s deadline to request the appraisal, which made it easier for the judge to find waiver of that right.

For his part, the trustee seemed to have treated the notice as an invitation to negotiate a settlement of all disputes between the parties, which Riden called “a completely appropriate strategy.”

But at the same time, the trustee needed to expressly exercise his appraisal rights under the contract.

“The lesson there is to still keep your eye on the ball and make sure that you’re sticking to the terms of the contract in case the effort to negotiate fails,” Riden said.

The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Kris Olson.

Steve has substantial experience representing owners involved in intra-corporate disputes, including shareholder litigation and close-corporation control matters.


Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

A “Possible” Case of the Mandela Effect? The Duty to Preserve in Massachusetts Following JFF Cecilia

The duty to preserve evidence is an important obligation in the context of litigation. And such a duty can arise prior to the filing of a lawsuit. As a result, a critical question for potential litigants and their counsel is: exactly when does this important duty arise?

The answer to this question is important, as a misstep may lead to the imposition of sanctions. In January the Massachusetts Superior Court Business Litigation Session issued a decision that appeared to set a new standard for when the duty to preserve evidence arises. The decision states that a potential litigant is duty bound to take affirmative steps to preserve evidence not only when it seems that litigation is likely, but “if a litigant or its expert knows or reasonably should know that the evidence might be relevant to a possible action” (emphasis added).[1]

A Discovery Dispute

The JFF Cecilia v. Weiner Ventures LLC, et. al. case involves a dispute between business partners on a construction project in Boston. According to an order issued on January 6, 2023, after the defendants backed out of the project, counsel for one of the plaintiffs sent a dispute notice on August 20, 2019, as required by the terms of the parties’ agreement. The letter specifically reserved plaintiff’s legal and equitable rights but made no mention of pending litigation. Counsel for the parties continued to communicate. The plaintiff sent another letter on October 1, 2019, proposing terms for resolution, “or [plaintiff] would be compelled to recover through other mechanisms. . .” A complaint was ultimately filed on October 23, 2019, and the parties proceeded to discovery.

After discovering large gaps in defendants’ document productions, plaintiffs were informed that two defendants had not preserved, or had affirmatively destroyed a series of text messages, email correspondence, and voicemails citing routine practice. These items were from the time that the parties were partnering on the project, as well as the period following defendants’ withdrawal from the project. Plaintiffs filed a motion for sanctions on September 30, 2022, alleging that defendants were reasonably on notice of the likelihood of litigation from August 20, 2019, until the filing of the lawsuit on October 23, 2019, and that defendants had failed to preserve, or affirmatively destroyed, potentially relevant evidence.

The Possible Action Standard: A Forgotten Standard?

In his original ruling, Judge Salinger denied Plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions finding that Plaintiffs had not shown that a reasonable person, before October 1, 2019, would have thought it very likely that they would be sued. Judge Salinger also found that Plaintiffs were not prejudiced by the alleged spoliation of evidence.

Plaintiffs appealed the denial. A single justice on the Appeals Court (Henry, J.) issued an order remanding the decision for clarification of the appropriate standard. Justice Henry specifically inquired whether the standard set forth in a 2009 Supreme Judicial Court case controlled. In that case, the SJC explained that “[t]he doctrine of spoliation permits the imposition of sanctions and remedies where a litigant or its expert negligently or intentionally loses or destroys evidence that the litigant (or expert) knows or reasonably should know might be relevant to a possible action, even when the spoliation occurs before an action has been commenced.” Scott v. Garfield, 454 Mass. 790, 798 (2009) (emphasis added). For the purposes of this article, this standard will be referred to as the “possible action standard.”

n remand, Judge Salinger reversed his earlier decision and noted that the remand order required him to interpret the possible action standard differently than he had the first time – “something materially different than ‘likely litigation.’” Citing the dictionary definitions of “possible” and “likely,” Judge Salinger determined that “[a] future lawsuit is ‘possible’ if it is ‘within the limits of ability, capacity, or realization.’ Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary at 918 (1991). In contrast, litigation is ‘likely’ only if it has ‘a high probability of occurring.’ Id. at 692.”

As a result, lawyers are asking whether this decision created a new standard for the duty to preserve evidence – namely if a defendant would have reasonably thought litigation was possible. Looking more closely, however, it may be that rather than creating a new standard, this case has uncovered a collective misremembering of Massachusetts law surrounding the duty to preserve and spoliation of evidence.

The Mandela Effect

In 2009, American writer, Fiona Broome coined the term the “Mandela Effect” to describe the phenomenon of collective false memories. A commonly used anecdote of the Mandela Effect is the spelling and pronunciation of the bear family from the popular children’s books the Berenstein Bears. . . or is it the Berenstain Bears? If you thought it was the Berenstein Bears, you’re in company of the likely (and incorrect) majority. Similarly, you wouldn’t be alone in assuming that the duty to preserve evidence arose when the threat of litigation was likely or probable. So, did the JFF Cecilia case change the threshold for when the duty to preserve commences, or has it always been when “a litigant or its expert knows or reasonably should know that the evidence might be relevant to a possible action”?

Unlike the Berenstain Bears, the answer here is not clear: it may be both. The original case using the possible action language cited by Judge Henry is Kippenhan v. Chaulk Servs., Inc., 428 Mass. 124, 127 (1998) (“[s]anctions may be appropriate for the spoliation of evidence that occurs even before an action has been commenced, if a litigant or its expert knows or reasonably should know that the evidence might be relevant to a possible action”) (emphasis added).

The “likelihood standard,” – distinguished in Judge Salinger’s January 30, 2023 ruling and probably the most recognizable to Massachusetts lawyers – seems to have appeared for the first time in Fletcher v. Dorchester Mut. Ins. Co., 437 Mass. 544, 549–50, (2002) (“[w]e have implicitly recognized that persons who are actually involved in litigation (or know that they will likely be involved) have a duty to preserve evidence for use by others who will also be involved in that litigation”) (emphasis added). Yet less than three sentences later, the Fletcher court cites Kippenhan and the possible action standard. The question remains, what is the standard?

What is the standard for the duty to preserve in Massachusetts?

Although the possible action standard laid out in Kippenhan remains good law,[2] it seems that somewhere along the way, the standard got conflated with a narrower probability or likelihood standard. This was not by imagination or mistake. While it seems to be a case of the Mandela Effect, it was likely a result of the more nuanced language used by Massachusetts courts since 1998, which often appear alongside the possible action standard.

Courts in Massachusetts have performed fact-sensitive inquiries into cases involving disputed instances of spoliation to discern what is really possible between two parties. In many of the cases that discuss and apply the possible action standard, the standard is qualified by explaining more nuanced, narrow scenarios when litigation is deemed to be possible. “Possible,” then, is a term of art. As such, the law is left with various synonymous standards cited alongside the possible action standard. Courts use words such as “likely,” “potential,”[3] “forthcoming,”[4] “upcoming,”[5] and “probable,”[6] among others to describe when a defendant should have anticipated the litigation for which evidence has allegedly been spoliated.[7]

hen discussing spoliation, courts look at the facts surrounding the dispute, the timing of the parties’ knowledge regarding the dispute, as well as factors that may mitigate a party’s reasonable expectation of litigation, to determine whether spoliation occurred. This ad hoc inquiry, while seemingly negating the utility of a spoliation standard, is in fact useful in better understanding the context in which the possible action standard is implemented. Indeed, in Kippenhan, the court sharpened the focus of when litigation may be deemed possible:

The threat of a lawsuit must be sufficiently apparent, however, that a reasonable person in the spoliator’s position would realize, at the time of spoliation, the possible importance of the evidence to the resolution of the potential dispute. . .

Kippenhan, at 127 (emphasis added).

As a result, Massachusetts courts seem to have relied on Kippenhan as a starting point for fact-sensitive inquiries. This further suggests that the long-held likelihood or probability standards are quite possibly a result of a collectively accepted, intuitive short-hand within which the standards for the duty to preserve and the spoliation of evidence have evolved from the simple possibility of future legal action to something more apparent.

However, as the courts work to clarify the bounds of the duty to preserve, lawyers should err on the side of preservation, as the simple act of questioning whether to preserve could be construed as knowledge of the possibility of such evidence being relevant to a possible action.

 


eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.


[1] JFF Cecilia LLC v. Weiner Ventures, LLC, et al., No. 1984CV03317-BLS2, 2023 WL 1804375 (Mass. Super. Ct. Jan. 30, 2023).

[2] Indeed, even the Mass Guide to Evidence, Section 1102 cites the possible action standard from Kippenhan.

[3] See, e.g., Keene v. Brigham & Women’s Hosp., Inc., 439 Mass. 223, 234 (2003) (“. . .defendant should have been aware of a likely claim at least as early as May 1, 1987, the time that it filed a notice with RMF of a potential claim based on the plaintiff’s injuries”); MacLellan v. Shaw’s Supermarket, Inc., 2008 WL 2889921, at *1 (Mass. Super. June 23, 2008) (“[p]ersons who are actually involved in litigation (or know that they will likely be involved) have a duty to preserve evidence for use by others who will also be involved in that litigation”).

[4] See, e.g., Reliance Ins. Co. v. Total Tech. Servs., Inc., 72 Mass. App. Ct. 1116 (2008) (“Sanctions may be appropriate for spoliation that occurs even before the commencement of an action if a party knows or reasonably should know that litigation is forthcoming and that the evidence will be relevant to that litigation”).

[5] See, e.g., Westover v. Leiserv, Inc., 64 Mass. App. Ct. 109, 112–13 (2005) (“The doctrine of spoliation ‘is based on the premise that a party who has negligently or intentionally lost or destroyed evidence known to be relevant for an upcoming legal proceeding should be held accountable for any unfair prejudice that results’”).

[6] Order of Sanctions for Spoliation of Evidence, Maclellan, (Mass. Super. June 23, 2008) (imposing sanctions where Defendant was “on notice of probable litigation” when alleged spoliation occurred).

[7] Notably, the cases that use these synonymous terms also cite to Kippenhan in their analysis of the law surrounding the duty to preserve evidence.

Steve Riden Speaking About Tortious Interference for Federal Bar Association

On Thursday, March 16, 2023, Steve Riden will give a presentation for the Federal Bar Association titled “Tortious Interference With Contracts: Proving and Defending Claims.”

The presentation will be conducted via webinar on March 16, 2023, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET. Registration information and other details are available here.

According to the program summary:

Commercial relationships and contracts are both susceptible to interference by others. Former employees and competitors sometimes resort to improper tactics to gain an unfair advantage. Business litigators need to be aware of the variety of fact patterns that can support a claim for tortious interference. This versatile tort is an essential tool to address a wide range of commercial misconduct and unfair competition.

This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.Key topics to be discussed:

  • What must plaintiffs prove to establish a tortious interference claim?
  • What are the potential defenses to defeat tortious interference claims?
  • What damages are available to prevailing plaintiffs in tortious interference cases?
  • How do tortious interference claims overlap with related employment, unfair competition, and defamation claims?

teve’s practice is in commercial litigation, and he represents corporate and individual clients in a wide array of commercial disputes across the country, and his primary focus is litigating trade secrets related matters. Over the past year, he has worked on myriad actions in state and federal courts involving trade secret issues, including representing several key witnesses in a jury trial that resulted in an award of more than $2 billion in damages for trade secret misappropriation.

Steve was the 2020 President of the Board of Directors for the Boston College Law School Alumni Association. He is an editorial board member of the Boston Bar Journal, following serving a two-year term as its chair, and a one-year term as its co-chair. Previously, Steve was the Co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Business and Commercial Litigation Section.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

 

Boston Magazine’s Top Lawyers List Names Beck Reed Riden LLP Attorneys

2022 Top Lawyers Winner - Boston MagazineBoston Magazine has included four Beck Reed Riden LLP attorneys in the publication’s “Top Lawyers” list, which recognizes the top law professionals in Greater Boston.

Published as part of the magazine’s December 2022 issue, the 2022 “Top Lawyers” list includes the following Beck Reed Riden LLP attorneys:

Boston Magazine’s editorial team researched and selected lawyers based on peer nominations and credentials. The complete list is available here.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Nicole Gage Recognized as Leading Trademark Lawyer

Nicole Gage has been recognized as one of the world’s leading trademark lawyers by the World Trademark Review’s “WTR 1000” for the ninth consecutive year. She has received recognition in two separate categories: Enforcement and Litigation, and Prosecution and Strategy.

WTR 1000 shines a spotlight on the firms and individuals that are deemed outstanding in the areas of trademark prosecution, counseling and enforcement. Nicole counsels companies of all sizes and partners with her clients to safeguard their brands.

he WTR 1000 is the only standalone publication to recommend individual practitioners and their firms exclusively in the trademark field, and identifies the leading players based on exhaustive research including client and peer feedback. More details about WTR and the methodology for its survey can be found here.

Nicole Gage has over 20 years of experience advising clients with respect to intellectual property matters. Her practice focuses on all areas of trademark and unfair competition law including clearance, portfolio management, prosecution, enforcement, litigation, due diligence, false advertising, licensing, trademark use and misuse, and use in connection with social media. She has significant experience in the Federal Courts and at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Stephen Riden Featured in The National Law Journal on Noncompetes

A recent issue of The National Law Journal features discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “Legal Industry Is Split on FTC’s Proposed Ban on Non-Competes.”

The article covers the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed Noncompete Clause Rule, which would essentially ban all employee noncompete agreements. The report was written by Christine Schiffner, Bureau Chief for the National Law Journal in Washington, D.C.

In the article, attorneys discuss a variety of viewpoints about the value of noncompete agreements, and assess the FTC’s proposal to restrict such provisions. Steve Riden is quoted as follows:

“We would suggest that the FTC reconsider an outright ban of non-compete agreements,” said Boston-based Beck Reed & Riden partner Stephen Riden. He and the firm’s other name partner Russell Beck spearheaded the publication of an open letter signed by 59 attorneys underscoring the effectiveness of non-compete agreements to protect trade secrets and “stealing confidential company information” when employees leave their jobs. His firm is also planning to actively weigh in during the FTC’s public comment period.

***

While 47 U.S. states currently permit non-competes and three states have enacted bans, Riden points out that “there are measures that can be taken to soften the impacts of non-competes,” including clear disclosures and more transparency during the hiring process. “Companies could provide notice of the non-compete agreements before the employee accepts the job,” Riden said—“so employees start a new role with their eyes wide open.”

***

While the FTC argues that the new rule would promote “greater dynamism, healthy competition, and innovation,” defense attorneys disagree. Particularly in circumstances of employees handling confidential or even trade secret information, non-compete clauses “give the old employer the opportunity to protect and further capitalize on the confidential information,” Riden said.

Steve has substantial experience representing companies and individuals in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Nicole Corvini Daly to Speak About Protecting Trade Secrets and Confidential Information

On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, Nicole Corvini Daly will be giving a presentation at the Boston Bar Association titled “Maintaining Confidentiality Outside the Office.”

The one-hour webinar starts at 11 a.m. ET. Registration and additional information is available here.

The Boston Bar Association describes Nicole’s presentation as follows:

Keeping company information confidential has become even more challenging with employees increasingly working outside the office and accessing company records from their homes and personal devices. This program will address the pitfalls for employees and employers alike when it comes to access to trade secrets, proprietary information, and confidential communications. Providing management-side and employee-side perspectives, the program will cover trends, risks, and solutions for a constantly shifting issue.

icole is a partner at Beck Reed Riden LLP. Her practice focuses on litigating and advising on the use and enforceability of noncompete, nonsolicitation, and nondisclosure agreements. She handles trade secret and restrictive covenant matters around the country, including cases involving mass defections of employees, and has successfully litigated cases on behalf of both employers and employees to either enforce or overcome restrictive covenants.

The other speaker on this panel is Michael Ackerstein of Ackerstein Law.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck, Steve Riden, and Bob Shea Named Top 100 Lawyers

Super Lawyers Magazine has selected Russell BeckStephen Riden, and Bob Shea as three of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts.

Russell Beck is a business and intellectual property litigator, nationally recognized for his trade secrets and noncompete experience. Russell has more than thirty years of experience as a complex business and intellectual property litigator, representing corporate and individual clients throughout the country. Russell has also been named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts.

Steve Riden is a commercial litigator who represents corporate and individual clients in a wide array of disputes across the country. Steve has extensive experience litigating business disputes involving breach of contract, fraud, unfair competition, trade secrets, and noncompete agreements.

Robert Shea advises and represents clients in all areas of labor and employment law. He devotes a significant portion of his practice to alternative dispute resolution, both as an advocate and a neutral.

The selection of the top 100 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts is based on a process of peer review following a survey of lawyers from the region. The Super Lawyers selection process is described in detail here.

 is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Stephen Riden to Speak at MCLE Conference

On Friday, February 3, 2023, Steve Riden will be speaking at MCLE’s 22nd Annual Business Litigation Conference.

The one-day online event starts at 12 p.m. ET. Registration and additional information is available here.

Steve will be speaking on a panel called “Preserving, Searching for, and Discovering Key Evidence.” The panel will cover the following topics:

  • Litigation hold requests
  • ESI-email, texts, phone logs—identifying key custodians and accounts
  • Considering client’s document retention policies and practices
  • Agreeing to joint search terms for ESI
  • Protective orders
  • Confidentiality designations
  • Motions to impound confidential material
  • Confidentiality terms in settlement agreements
The other speakers on this panel are:
  • Matthew S. Furman, Esq., of Todd & Weld LLP , Boston
  • Sarah M. Nyren, Esq., of Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford LLP, Boston

MCLE describes the event as follows:

This year’s annual Conference is a can’t-miss event! Get the latest update on new business litigation developments and important case law delivered in a dynamic, streamlined format by a stellar faculty of U.S. District Judges, U.S. Magistrate Judges, Massachusetts Superior Court Judges, and preeminent practitioners. Hear their insightful, practical tips from the trenches—and from the bench. The Judges discuss recent trends and field your questions in the ever-popular Business Litigation Session Judicial Panel and Federal Judicial Panel. And hear valuable strategic insights on preliminary injunctions as well as preserving, searching for, and discovering key evidence. Get highly practical, sage perspective that only experience—and the Conference—can provide.

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

Russell Beck to Speak at Sandpiper Partners’ Annual Trade Secrets Conference

On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, Russell Beck will be speaking at Sandpiper Partners’ sixth annual program on trade secrets. The event, which Russell is co-moderating, will be held in San Francisco. This invitation-only program is titled “Trade Secrets Protection, Enforcement, and Litigation.”

The one-day, in-person program starts at 9 a.m. PT on January 31, 2023 at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe Conference Center, 405 Howard Street, San Francisco, California. More details are available here.

The program brings together judges, in-house counsel, FBI agents, and outside lawyers from across the country. Attendees will learn about the following topics:

  • Forum selection for civil enforcement
  • Criminal prosecution and cooperation with the government
  • Discovery and trial strategy
  • Damage award trends and non-monetary relief
  • Corporate best practices for managing and protecting trade secrets

According to the event’s description:

DOJ and FBI are aggressively pursuing cases involving foreign parties, individuals and state actors such as China, and U.S. domestic individuals engaged in trade secret thievery. On the criminal and civil sides, these prosecutions are resulting in very large verdicts. A number of prosecutions have resulted in over ten figure awards. The field is a wash with competitors using IP for and against their interest.

The panel on protection of trade secrets after the Pandemic is key to understanding these awards. Key topics include defining trade secrets, ownership and state laws as well as federal actions, patent vs trade secrets issues, and restrictions on enforcement of employee non-solicitation, non-compete agreements.

For up-to-the-minute analysis of legal issues concerning trade secrets and noncompete agreements in Massachusetts and across the United States, read Russell Beck’s blog, Fair Competition Law.

eck Reed Riden LLP is among the leading authorities in trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition law, and our experience handling these matters is backed by our extensive employment law and business litigation experience. Our hand-picked team combines attorneys with complementary expertise and practical experience.

The Wall Street Journal featured Beck Reed Riden LLP’s noncompete agreement experience. In 2016, the White House issued a report entitled, “Non-Compete Agreements: Analysis of the Usage, Potential Issues, and State Responses,” relying in part on Beck Reed Riden LLP’s research and analysis, including its 50 State Noncompete Survey.

Russell Beck’s work in this area is well recognized, and includes:

  • Over thirty years of experience working on trade secret, noncompete, and unfair competition matters
  • Assisting the Obama White House as part of a small working group to develop President Obama’s Noncompete Call to Action
  • Authoring the book Negotiating, Drafting, and Enforcing Noncompetition Agreements and Related Restrictive Covenants (6th ed., MCLE, Inc. 2021), used by other lawyers to help them with their noncompete matters
  • Authoring the book Trade Secrets Law for the Massachusetts Practitioner (1st ed. MCLE 2019), covering trade secrets nationally, with a focus on Massachusetts law
  • Drafting and advising on legislation for the Massachusetts Legislature to define, codify, and improve noncompetition law
  • Teaching Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants at Boston University School of Law
  • Founding and administering the award-winning blog, Fair Competition Law
  • Establishing and administering the Noncompete Lawyers and Trade Secret Protection groups on LinkedIn, with over 1,660 and 870 members, respectively, around the world
  • Founded and chaired the Trade Secret / Noncompete Practice for an AmLaw 100 firm

In addition, Russell was honored for his work in this area of law in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide, which stated that Russell Beck is “an expert in the field of trade secret and restrictive covenant law,” and is also noted for his “ability to adjust and come up with successful solutions.” Chambers noted that Russell “basically wrote the new Massachusetts statute on noncompetes” and that “he’s an expert in employee mobility and nonrestrictive covenants.”

Beck Reed Riden LLP is Boston’s innovative litigation boutique. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups and individuals. We focus on business litigation and employment.

We are experienced litigators and counselors, helping our clients as business partners to resolve issues and develop strategies that best meet our clients’ legal and business needs – before, during, and after litigation. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help you. Read more about us, the types of matters we handle, and what we can do for you here.

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