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Articles Posted in Case Results

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Attorney Peter Mavrick recently defended Soroka’s International, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Broward Circuit Court, in a case seeking a prejudgment writ of replevin. The case arose from a business dispute among former owners of a business, and their separation from each other. The plaintiffs, Event Horizon Glass Corp. and Luis Gonzales Stained Glass, Inc. sought a prejudgment writ of replevin to compel attorney Peter Mavrick’s client to produce numerous pieces of equipment and machinery. Obtaining a prejudgment writ of replevin in this case involved a type of emergency legal proceeding. The trial court sets a hearing on short notice where the parties have to appear, testify, and explain the ownership of personal property that at least one party wants to possess immediately.

At the evidentiary hearing in this case, witnesses testified about the machinery and who was the owner. However, the evidence did not demonstrate that the plaintiffs were the owners of the machinery or that Soroka’s International, Inc. had possession of anything owned by the plaintiffs. At the end of the hearing, the Judge refused to grant the prejudgment writ of replevin.

Thereafter, Mr. Mavrick’s clients, Soroka’s International, Inc. and its owner, counterclaimed. Eventually a default was entered in favor of Mr. Mavrick’s clients as to their counterclaims. The plaintiffs did not further pursue the issue of replevin.

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Peter Mavrick, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, successfully defended a Broward County business for alleged violation of a contract that prohibited competition. The case was venued in Circuit Court, and followed departure of employees from a company who then started their own business.

Before hiring attorney Peter Mavrick, the client corporation tried to show the plaintiff corporation that no trade secrets were stolen and that there was no breach of Florida law. However, the plaintiff demanded that Mr. Mavrick’s client close its business entirely and pay thousands of dollars.

After court argument and several depositions, the evidence showed that there were no trade secrets because nothing was kept secret. The plaintiff never treated any of its alleged secrets as a “secret” until after it decided to sue its former employees’ corporation. For example, the alleged trade secrets were kept in the open for everyone to view, there were no protective measures to safeguard the alleged secrets, and the plaintiff never even told its employees the alleged trade secrets were even “secrets” that were required to be kept confidential. Attorney Peter Mavrick argued that the there could be no theft of trade secrets under Florida law when no measures existed to ensure secrecy ever existed before the plaintiff’s lawsuit was filed. In addition, Peter Mavrick argued that the alleged secrets would not qualify as trade secrets that meet the requirements of Florida law.

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Under Florida law, non-compete contracts are often held unenforceable due to circumstances of the employer-employee relationship, employee background, or the contract itself. Generally, employers must show they have a “legitimate business interest” to make a non-competition covenant enforceable. A legitimate business interest could include specialized training the employer provided the employee, a sort of investment in the employee.

In a case handled by attorney Peter Mavrick, an employer wanted to enforce a noncompete covenant against Mr. Mavrick’s client, an employee that had received some training from his former eimployer. However, the training was minimal. Most importantly, the employee had many years of experience in the employer’s industry before he signed the noncompetition contract. It was because of that substantial industry experience that the employer hired Mr. Mavrick’s client. The employee was highly competent because of his experience.

Based on case law invalidating a noncompete contract where the employee’s specialized knowledge preceded his contract, attorney Peter Mavrick successfully argued that the noncompetition covenant was invalid. Mr. Mavrick’s client was allowed to continue his own business in competition with his former employer.

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