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Practice Areas

Breach of Contract/Business Litigation

Attorney Robert Corris concentrates his practice in Business Litigation.  Often, his cases involve breach of contract claims that relate to the practice areas that are described in more detail below.  However, his practice includes a broad range of breach of contract and other business disputes. To learn more, call Corris Law today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

Computer Crimes

Businesses today store data on computers and other electronic storage systems. When an employee goes to work for a competitor or starts his or her own competing business, the former employer often hires a computer forensic expert to search for evidence that the employee accessed data without permission and copied or deleted data. Because state and federal laws make it a crime to access electronic storage media without authorization, an employee’s actions may lead the employer to assert a civil computer crimes claim. Wisconsin has a “civil theft” statute that provides for triple damages and attorneys’ fees; it is no uncommon for a plaintiff alleging that information has been “stolen” from a computer system to include a statutory “civil theft” or common law conversion claim.  

 

Attorney Robert Corris is an experienced business litigator who knows how to prosecute or defend against computer crimes, civil theft, conversion and related claims. If you have been sued for an alleged computer crime or related claims, he can help you to defeat your former employer’s case so you can have the peace of mind to move ahead with your career.  If you are an employer who wants to pursue a claim for misappropriation of computer data, he can help you bring a claim for violation of computer crime statutes, directly or by related claims.  To learn more, call Corris Law today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

Dealers, Franchisees, and Sales Representatives

The Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law (WFDL) provides that  a “grantor” of a dealership cannot cancel, fail to renew or substantially change the competitive circumstances of a dealership agreement without good cause. Often in product distribution disputes between a manufacturer and its dealers, franchisees or sales representatives, answering the  question of whether the WFDL applies and if so, to what extent, is critical.

 

Attorney Robert Corris has had more than 40 years' experience representing manufacturers,  dealers, franchisees, and sales representatives in distribution litigation. These cases often turn on the outcome of expedited motions for temporary or preliminary injunctive relief.  He has obtained temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions for dealers or franchisees in a number of industries, and he is well-versed in WFDL-based actions. To learn more, call Corris Law today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

E-Discovery

Courts and parties have come to recognize that many “documents” exist only in electronic format, such as data on desktops, laptops, tablets, thumb drives, smart phones and other media that can store information electronically, including on the “cloud.” Court rules now refer to these documents as “electronically stored information” or “ESI” and now require attorneys to confer about the scope, cost, and proportionality of discovery of ESI from opposing parties and third person non-parties. 

 

Attorney Robert Corris has been on the cutting edge of e-discovery and took the lead in educating Wisconsin lawyers on e-discovery, both as an author of the Wisconsin Discovery Law and Practice and as a speaker. It is common now for parties to retain computer forensic experts to preserve relevant ESI, to propound or respond to requests for production of ESI, and to attempt to recover “deleted” data.  It is important to address E-discovery and document retention issues even before a lawsuit has been filed, because the duty to preserve evidence attaches when litigation is reasonably anticipated.  To learn more, call Corris Law today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

Fiduciary Duties/Duty of Loyalty

A fiduciary duty is a duty that the law imposes on a person who holds or acts in a position of trust and confidence. In general terms, a fiduciary has a duty to act fairly and in the best interests of the person to whom the duty is owed. Some types of business law disputes will often include a claim that a party has breached a fiduciary duty. These disputes can involve employers and employees as well as shareholders, partners or members in a small business.  An employer who sues a former employee who has gone into competition will often include a claim for breach of a fiduciary duty of loyalty.

 

It is well established that a corporate officer or director is under a fiduciary duty of loyalty in the conduct of the employer’s business. However, an employee who does not hold a position as an officer or director may or may not be a “key” employee who owes a fiduciary duty or duty of loyalty  A falling out among shareholders, partners, or members in a small business can result in bitter litigation involving claims of breach of fiduciary duties.  When the primary injury is to the business entity, the claim is derivative and must be brought in compliance with the rules governing derivative actions. When the injury is primarily to an individual, the claim is individual 

 

Attorney Robert Corris has more than 40 years of experience in representing parties in disputes involving fiduciary duties or duty of loyalty claims. To learn more about how he can assist you, call Corris Law today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form

Fraud and Civil Racketeering

Fraud and civil racketeering claims may be included in Wisconsin business disputes. The consequences of these actions can be costly and inflict heavy damage on an individual or company’s business interests. That’s why it’s important to seek the legal advice and representation of an experienced Wisconsin fraud and civil racketeering lawyer. Wisconsin recognizes three species of fraud: Intentional deceit, strict responsibility, and negligent misrepresentation. The bases of responsibility in these three types of fraud have three elements in common:

  • The representation must be of a fact and made by the defendant;

  • The representation of fact must be untrue; and

  • The plaintiff must believe such representation to be true and rely on it to his detriment.

One of the government’s most effective weapons against organized crime is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is commonly called the “RICO Act.” The RICO Act includes a civil remedy that allows a person injured in his business or property by a violation of the Act to recover triple damages and reasonable actual attorneys’ fees. Attorney Robert Corris has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in civil RICO actions. He knows about the requirements the courts have grafted onto the statute, including but not limited to:

  • The continuity and relatedness requirements of a pattern of racketeering activity;

  • The section 1962(c) requirement that a culpable person be separate and apart from the enterprise;

  • The meaning of to “conduct or participate” in the affairs of an enterprise;

  • The ‘investment injury” requirement under subsection 1962(a); and

  • The factual and proximate causation requirements of a RICO Act claim.

 

Attorney Robert Corris has also represented plaintiffs and defendants in actions brought under the state RICO act, known as the Wisconsin Organized Crime Control Act, or “WOCCA.” He knows about the similarities and differences between a RICO claim and a WOCCA claim, including the possible difference in what constitutes a pattern of racketeering activity. To learn more, call us at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

Non-Compete Agreements/Restrictive Covenants

Many employers force their employees to sign restrictive covenant agreements.  Restrictive covenants include non-competes (employee will not compete in a restricted territory for a restricted period of time), customer clauses (employee will not solicit or do business with the employer's customers), employee non-solicit clauses (employee will not solicit employer's other employees), and confidentiality or non-disclosure covenants (employee will not use or disclose employer's confidential information).  Then, after the employee changes jobs or the employer fires the employee, he or she receives a threatening letter or lawsuit that is aimed at stopping him or her from working.

 

If the employee is looking for work, a prospective employer may even tell the employee to “take care of” the non-compete first. The prospective employer may want to hire the employee, but the prospective employer wants to avoid being sued. The employee needs someone to defeat the non-compete.

 

Attorney Robert Corris has more than 40 years of experience advising employees about non-compete agreements before they change jobs, responding aggressively to employers’ threatening letters and fighting successfully to defeat non-competes in court. If you need assistance with your non-compete agreement, call Corris Law today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

Preliminary Injunction

An injunction is a court order that typically enjoins or prohibits a person, company or government entity subject to the order from taking certain action or that directs a specific act to be performed. A preliminary injunction (sometimes referred to in Wisconsin as a "temporary injunction") is an injunction that takes effect during the pendency of a lawsuit.  A temporary restraining order, or TRO, is an emergency order issued by a court to maintain the status quo until a hearing can be held on a motion for a preliminary injunction.

 

Attorney Robert Corris is a seasoned business litigator with more than 40 years of experience in representing business law clients who are either seeking or defending against an injunction or temporary restraining order. In virtually all lawsuits involving alleged violations of non-compete agreements or misappropriation of trade secrets, the plaintiff will be moving for a preliminary injunction and often for a temporary restraining order.  Likewise, a motion for a preliminary injunction will be filed in dealership termination/non-renewal or trademark infringement cases.

 

These cases can involve complex issues that require deep knowledge of civil procedure and strong advocacy skills. To learn more about how he can assist you, call Corris Law today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

Trade Secrets

In its most basic terms, a trade secret is information that has economic value from being secret and for which reasonable steps have been taken to maintain its secrecy.  If confidential information is readily ascertainable from other sources by proper means, the information is not a trade secret but can still be protected by an enforceable non-disclosure agreement. An employer often will join a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets when it sues a former employee for breach of a restrictive covenant, or “non-compete agreement.

 

In 1995, the federal Court of Appeals in Chicago gave new life to a trade secret doctrine known as “inevitable disclosure.”  The employer will argue that the employee has gone to work for a competitor in the same or similar position under circumstances such that the employee will inevitably use the employer’s trade secret information in his new employment. In trade secret cases, the plaintiff will typically seek a preliminary injunction, a permanent injunction, damages, and attorney’s fees. Trade secret cases can involve complex legal issues. 

 

However, Attorney Robert Corris is experienced in trade secret litigation and knows how to attack, or enforce, a claim that information is a trade secret or has been misappropriated. If you have been accused of misappropriating a trade secret, or if your trade secrets have been misappropriated, call the Corris Law Office today at (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (rcorris@corrislaw.com), or use our convenient contact form.

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