Along with the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association, the Litigation Section held its second breakfast meeting of the 2018-2019 Bar year on Oct. 12 in its year-long series, Litigation of Our Times, The Specialty Trial Series.

Moderated by Board Member Amy B. Cheng, Members of the two Sections enjoyed a spirited discussion on the topic of restrictive covenants and trade secrets litigation and trial. The panel consisted of seasoned practitioners in this area, Erika Birg (Nelson Mullins), Brent Houk (UPS), Mari Myer (Myer Law Firm), and Adriana Midence (Jackson Lewis).

From Left: BBGA Shareholder and Current Chair of the Litigation Section Rob Huestis, Erika Birg, Brent Houk , Adriana Midence, Mari Myer, and Amy B. Cheng

Following statutory changes in restrictive covenant law in Georgia, which went into effect in 2011, the panel discussed their experiences in litigation arising from restrictive covenant agreements, and the ways in which careful contract draftsmanship have kept litigation to a minimum. The panel also discussed how Georgia courts have been given the opportunity to “blue pencil” Georgia restrictive covenants to assist in what Midence referred to as “a great way to protect what matters” to employers while balancing the reasonable interests of employees to earn a living.

The ability of Georgia trial courts to amend restrictive covenants – so long as they are not more restrictive than the original contract – has perhaps resulted in an increase in trial court litigation. This, however, has occasioned a decrease in appellate cases because of the trial courts’ abilities to “blue pencil” or pare down restrictive covenants instead of striking overly broad provisions wholesale.

After providing a primer on trade secrets in general, the moderator and panelists then discussed the paramount necessity of keeping information confidential to obtain the full benefit of protection under the Trade Secrets Act. A company must enact and enforce reasonable measures to keep information free from disclosure by defining employees with access to such information and preventing disclosure by computer passwords, keycards and other similar protections.

The next breakfast, the “Products Liability Trial,” will take place on Friday, November 9 at Ansley Golf Club, 196 Montgomery Ferry Drive, Atlanta, GA 30309, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

For more information, click here. Non-Members must register via the registration form, found on the website.

The Litigation Section of the Atlanta Bar Association is the largest section by membership and is made up of litigators who practice in various areas of the law, as well as judges. The Section holds 9 monthly breakfast meetings a year, highlighting prominent speakers and compelling topics. The Section also hosts happy hours, CLEs and other events such as its annual Bench & Bar Reception in the spring.

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