Non-Compete agreement in California

I signed an employment agreement with my previous employer, a consulting company, which has the non-compete clause in there. The clause states that I can not work for a period of 2 years for any of their client or client's client with whom I have been worked during my tenure with them.

I was working for a client through three intermediate layers. I joined the third layer who has direct contact with my client.

Now my previous employer attorney has sent me a notice stating that I have diverted their clients revenue by continue to work for their client's client. He has asked me to pay 20K in settlement or they will pursue the case in court. The damages can be up to 45K, to be proven in court. Please note that my new employer does not have any contract with my previous employer's client since there was another party in involved in between and they do not even know my previous company as well as their immediate client. Please also note that my contract does not have any fee clause in there.

My question is a follows:

1) Assuming they file the case and I fight this case and win, does the prevailing party get the attorney's fee since I am only defending myself and there is no fee clause in my contract?

2) In case of out of court settlement does the settling party (my employer) need to pay for legal expenses incurred by me.

3) Do I need to counter sue them to recover my expenses?

1 answer  |  asked Apr 15, 2004 5:35 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

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Answers (1)

Janet M. Koehn
penny wise is pound foolish!

why on earth do you indicate you are unwilling to pay even a consulting fee to an attorney? obviously you have a great deal at stake. you have options on your own behalf that an attorney experienced in employment law and litigation, can well advise you on, and whose expertise (just like yours) should be compensated.
you can find many extremely competent and experienced employment attorneys in the los angeles area, by going to the cal employment lawyers assn website (
good luck
janet m. koehn

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Apr 15, 2004 7:08 PM [EST]

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