Is a covenant not to compete reasonable?

In Washington all questions surrounding whether or not a covenant not to compete is reasonable involve the following three factors:

1. Whether restraint is necessary for protection of business or goodwill of the employer.

2. Whether the covenant imposes upon the employee any greater restraint than is reasonbly necessary to secure employer's business or goodwill.

3. Whether degree of injury to the public is such loss of the service and skill of the employee as to warrant nonenforcement of the covenant.

Knight, Vale and Gregory v. McDaniel, 37 Wn.App. 366 (Division II 1984)

iphone 4 now syncs with tasks

One of the shortcomings of the iphone 4 was it's inability to sync Outlook Tasks.  Now the problem is solved.  The software on the iphone 4 has been updated to OS5 and now syncs with Outlook tasks. You can download the new software via itunes.

Apps, apps and more apps.

Check this out for a list of apps useful for lawyers.

Blackberry no more!

I recently switched from my Blackberry to the iphone 4 and given the recent Blackberry blackout it was a good move.  The iphone 4 is fantastic.  The only drawback is that it will not sync with Outlook tasks.  There is a work around for that but it is beyond my limited tech abilities. Once you switch to the iphone 4 you will never go back.

Keep those prospective jurors talking

Years ago when I was a young attorney I would cringe during voir dire if a prospective juror gave a negative opinion of anything that had to do with my case.  I would either quickly move on to another prospective juror or try to convince the first juror that they were wrong.  Those are the wrong things to do. You want that juror to talk and give you all the negative opinions they have without being afraid of those opinions.  The opinions are information. They tell you how that juror thinks and that helps you to possibly challenge the juror for cause or make a wise preemptory challenge.  The prospective jurors you should be afraid of are the ones that are quiet.

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Federal Courts are hard on employment cases

It is common knowledge among plaintiff's employment lawyers the employment discrimination cases filed in federal courts have a short shelf life.  It seems as though there isn't a federal judge who doesn't like a defendant's summary judgment motion.  Most employment discrimination cases depend on inferences from the facts.  That is, rarely do defendants come right out and say they are discriminating agains someone.  Therefore, you have to resort to circumstantial evidence from which a trier of fact could infer that discrimination was taking place.  Federal judges seem loathe to draw any inferences from the facts and therefor usually find that the plaintiff is wanting in her evidence.  I have heard that the judges are "inference challenged."  To see how long it takes to succesfully overcome this bias see the post here.

Employment Law: Third Party Retaliation

The U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled that a man that was fired just weeks after his fiance filed a sex discrimination claim had standing to bring a retaliation claim.  The man and his fiance worked for the same employer. The case is  Thompson v. North American Stainless.  Normally a retaliation claim can only be brought by someone that is engaged in protected activity.  That is those who file a claim, report discriminatioin or somehow assist in the claim.  The man had done none of those things.  His only connection was that he was the fiance to the woman who filed the claim. To prove retaliation it must be an action that "well might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination."  Firing  the worker's fiance certainly fits that bill but that still only makes it a claim that can be made by the person who engaged in the protected activity.  Justice Scalia comes to the rescue by ruling that the man came within the "zone of interests" protected by Title VII and therefor he had standing to bring the claim. In the language of the statute he was a "person aggreived". On the one hand that seems to be a stretch, but on the other hand he is the one who was fired and to not give him a claim would undermine Title VII.

Deposition Skills

To hone up on your deposition skills I highly recommend the DVD (it also comes in CD) entiled "Deposition Techniques: Strategies, Tactics and Skills" by David Markowitz.  You can order the DVD here.

FRCP 30(b)(6)

If you are taking or defending a 30(b)(6) deposition remember that there are two different sets of court opinions on the scope of a 30(b)(6) deposition.  The majority opinion is that the questioner can ask any question permitted by FRCP 26.  The minority opinion is that the questioner can only ask questions relating to the specific areas that were designated in the notice for the 30(b)(6) deposition.  So before taking or defending a 30(b)(6) deposition take the time to find out whether your federal circuit or your state courts follow the majority or minority opinion. If your jurisdiction follows the minority rule your best option, if you are noting the deposition, is to set forth in your notice the areas upon which you expect the witness to be prepared to answer in the broadest terms possible.

PDFs

If you want to learn about Adobe Acrobat and how lawyers put it to use go to Ernie Svenson's blog: "PDF for Lawyers - Smart tips for busy lawyers and legal professionals".  This is one blog where I find myself going through not only the recent posts but also the archived posts.  There is plenty to learn from this blog.