Welcome to the Small Business Ideas Forum! We are a community of over 100,000 small business folks with over 163,000 posts for you to browse. We pride ourselves on being the friendliest forum you will find and we'd love to have you as a member of our community. Please take a moment and register for a free account. If you need any help, please contact Chris Logan.

Small Business Ideas Forum

Small Business Ideas Forum

A friendly place to share small business ideas and knowledge, ask questions, find help and encourage others that are involved in the small business industry. Topics include small business marketing, generating revenue and small business computing.

Go Back   Small Business Ideas Forum > General Issues > General Small Business Issues
Register Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 14th May 2007, 07:17 PM   #1
_detz_
VIP Contributor
 
_detz_'s Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 265
Default I'm Being Sued and Need Some Advice :-(

OK, LONG story short. First job out of college was for an AIRLINE reservation system. Owner was very "novice" and he was a real hoot to work for if you know what I mean(Many people left while I was there because of him). Anyways, fast forward three years and he's suing me because he states I broke contract by starting an HOTEL reservation site. I never stole anything, I never took any ideas from him, nothing about my current system looks or acts anything like their system yet he believes that I did something wrong. I have no money, I have no connections and I don't know what to do. I got a letter in the mail(well, dropped off in my mailbox, don't they have to get a signature?) that I have to "reply" to this summons but I don't even know where to begin. He is claiming damages but if I haven't made anything off it is there anything to claim? I'm so lost, any advice would be appreciated.

P.S. I know the advice, "GET A LAWYER" but I'm looking for other comments/suggestions. I will probably end up losing $1000's just in lawyer costs that I'm not too happy about.

__________________
http://www.thevacantcubicle.com - The Vacant Cubicle

http://www.invoicejournal.com - Invoice your customers for free.
_detz_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Register or log in to remove this ad.
Old 14th May 2007, 08:10 PM   #2
Crimson Fox
Senior Member
 
Crimson Fox's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 452
Default

unfortunately, the get a lawyer advice fits for this one. It may cost you more than $1000 if you don't get one.

At the very least, you could just get legal advice. I believe that there are some solicitors that will speak to you for free for your first meeting.

__________________
Have you seen our services in:
Brand Advertising, Marketing and Visual Design Promotion
and don't forget The Brand Design Blog
Crimson Fox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2007, 08:39 PM   #3
Logan
Administrator
 

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 8,046
Default

I agree, and it sucks but retaining a lawyer will protect you for the long run.

Outside of that, I'm pretty sure you didn't just take ideas from him. Didn't we talk thru and go thru the whole thing here - including functionality, slogan, logo, etc. I'd print out all your forum threads here where you and I go back and forth, and have handy down the road to display how you came to the point you did. I remember quite a few threads between you & I were I explained more than a few things regarding how it could work, pricing models, etc. Many/most of which you did implement - even sometimes word for word (with our blessings of course). Many things (down to the word) didn't come from him - the truth will come out, and don't worry yourself too much. Make good decisions.

Its all date/time stamped here ... lol ... print that out and send to their lawyer

You could also print out your site. Then use a highlighter and cross reference the threads here discussing the site and where it is implemented.

For example - Number of Steps to Book A Hotel Room. But there are others, such as the one about the logo design and tagline on the home page, etc.

Did you even have a non compete signed with him, if not i might not even waste the money on a lawyer at this point if he has zero to stand on.

__________________
Search Engine Guide - Small Business Guide to Search Marketing
Small Business Brief - Small Business Ideas Forum, Articles & News
Logan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2007, 09:16 PM   #4
_detz_
VIP Contributor
 
_detz_'s Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 265
Default

Before I do, can I post things from the document on here? I want to post the contract statement and my side of the story and see what you think.

Logan, thanks...the only issue that might come up is I started the project while working there but that's because that's when my girlfriend gave me the idea not because I worked there. No where on there site is the word Hotel, Motel or Bed and Breakfast used yet they claim that I worked on one when I was there(very untrue and they can't prove that).

What I think it comes down to is he is upset I left because I was the best they had and now he see a chance to "get even". Everyone things I should shut down the site but not only does that imply guilt but it also gets rid of 3+ years of hard word.

Question: What could they possibly get for damages. Every year I've lost money of my tax returns from this business(while I was building) and I rent and don't own anything nice. Would they garnish if they one?

__________________
http://www.thevacantcubicle.com - The Vacant Cubicle

http://www.invoicejournal.com - Invoice your customers for free.
_detz_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2007, 09:24 PM   #5
Logan
Administrator
 

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 8,046
Default

You can post what you want, not sure why there would be an issue.. and if for some reason there is robert can always edit it as needed to meet any rules.

__________________
Search Engine Guide - Small Business Guide to Search Marketing
Small Business Brief - Small Business Ideas Forum, Articles & News
Logan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2007, 09:40 PM   #6
SoKyBiz
VIP Contributor
 
SoKyBiz's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Bowling Green KY
Posts: 185
Send a message via Yahoo to SoKyBiz
Default

It sounds fishy to me. A real lawyer would have paid the $6 to get your signature. There was no stamp and it was in your mailbox? That's a federal crime by the way.

Check the credentials of the lawyer! Some people make up a name and put it on fancy letterhead just to scare you into writing a check.

Has the suit been filed? If not... don't do anything. Let it sit! Let the guy burn money trying to get you to respond.

If they do file a real lawsuit, talk to a lawyer about filing a counter suit for legal harassment and legal fees. A good hungry lawyer will take the 1/2 hour if he/she thinks they can make a few dollars by writing a letter.

I don't feel right about the situation... a letter "dropped off" in a mailbox sounds wrong. I would contact the post office immediately and ask the postal inspector to look into it. If this guy is squirrely enough, he may have had it "dropped off" to avoid mail fraud for impersonating an attorney, making legal threats and who knows what else.

Anyway... that's my view from the cheap seats. I've been in a similar situation and I stood my ground and it cost me nothing. Took guts but sometimes when that's all you got... you work with it.

Please note: I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice!!! Just my opinion. The advice to get a lawyer is good advice. They are expensive and they are handy. Fact is, they are agents of the court system and have some authority too. That said, don't be pushed around by one either. Our system is fair and you could call them out by simply taking it to court.

Be careful though... if they actually filed a small claims suit ($5000 or less) and you don't show up... they win by default. At least that's my understanding.

Good luck... hang in there.

__________________
David Francis | Bowling Green KY USA | SoKy Local Business
SoKyBiz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2007, 09:43 PM   #7
_detz_
VIP Contributor
 
_detz_'s Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 265
Default

...not against rules but more against I don't want to post anything to make them more upset than they already are. Ok, here we go.

Their side: ME = my name, THEM = their name.
Pursuant to the Confidentiality agreement, ME agreed not to divulge or appropriate for his own use any proprietary and confidential information of THEM, including software program code and technical information.
I run this business alone, nobody knows anything and everything I've written has been written by me. I have not used any code or ideas from them in ANY way, mainly because they way they made us write code was way out of date and very ugly. I would never copy any of that and was a reason why I quit because I was learning bad habits.

Pursuant to the Confidentiality agreement, ME agreed not to engaged in any other business enterprise which would compete in any way with THEM.
Well, I run a HOTEL/B&B Reservation site for small businesses. They run an AIRLINE reservation system. Nowhere on their site does the word hotel, motel or bed and breakfast exist nor do they list that as any of their services offered. I'm no competing with them in any way.

Some versions of the _____ System include hotel inventory and reservation management. As part of his responsibilities, ME worked on and updated the hotel inventory and reservation management portions of the ______ system.
OK, flat out lie or misleading. “Some version”…what, the version they hide some everyone? They said I worked with hotel inventory and reservation management portions? HAHA, I mean, this is just a straight out lie.

Prior to his employment by ____, ME had no experience with web programming or the creation or operation of hotel reservation systems.
I had SIX years of web development (programming) experience before going there and this was on my resume I gave them. They think they taught me this; I actually had to re-learn the proper way after leaving.

They go on about some stuff about how I “offering to sell and selling the system” which is false, I sell the service nobody actually gets the code it’s all hosted on my servers but that’s technical. Another great line, “Upon information and belief, ME use the proprietary and confidential information of _____, including program code of the _____ System, in create the hotel reservation system.
Not true, as stated (and I can prove it will print outs of ALL my code) that nothing was copied or even resembles anything about their system.

__________________
http://www.thevacantcubicle.com - The Vacant Cubicle

http://www.invoicejournal.com - Invoice your customers for free.
_detz_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th May 2007, 09:47 PM   #8
_detz_
VIP Contributor
 
_detz_'s Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 265
Default

Some other tid bits. The letter was just in my mailbox and was no seals and only had my name written on the front. What might have happened was they dropped it next door and they brought it over, I have no idea though since me(nor the person I live with) saw it before I picked it up out of the box.

On that note, I can't find a date...the only date on it is from the witness which is dated January 20th!! That's almost five months away...

It looks legit, they have a photocopy of a civil action cover sheet which is filled out and has numbers printed etc, looks real.


If someone wants to look at the two business(sites and docs) let me know I just don't want to post anything public about them.

__________________
http://www.thevacantcubicle.com - The Vacant Cubicle

http://www.invoicejournal.com - Invoice your customers for free.
_detz_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th May 2007, 11:55 AM   #9
Logan
Administrator
 

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 8,046
Default

It almost sounds like they are saying you can't program anymore, and I don't understand if there was a non compete - they mention confidentiality agreement ... but they can't prevent you from making a living.

It doesn't sound official to me the way you describe things, so i would make simple call to the clerk of court where it has been filed.

Here is the crux of it to me, which is what sucks really, even though its not worth anything and you haven't done anything wrong - it may cost you money/lawyer to prove that.

What is the resolution they are seeking? That's a mystery to me.

__________________
Search Engine Guide - Small Business Guide to Search Marketing
Small Business Brief - Small Business Ideas Forum, Articles & News
Logan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th May 2007, 12:36 PM   #10
_detz_
VIP Contributor
 
_detz_'s Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 265
Default

They want...

A) Preliminary and permanently enjoin ME from using or disclosing the confidential, proprietary and trade secret information of THEM, including using, selling or disposing of the system.
B) Award THEM all damages caused by ME breach of contact;
C) Award THEM all damages caused by ME misappropriation of trade secrets;
D) Award THEM increased damages pursuant to M.G.L. c. 93, 42
E) Award THEM it's cost of suit
F) Grant THEM such other relief and further relief as the court deems just and proper.

These people are nuts, they probably actually think that I took there stuff and it's sad. Trade secrets, haha, oh man. They seek all of these damages yet I have yet to make a profit...I guess they don't know that though.

On a good note I called an employee who worked there while I did, worked well and left for the same reason as I did(could not stand the boss). He said it's ridiculous and that they never had anything to do with hotel reservations except for the one time they tried to sell something they didn't have to a major hotel and they laughed and walked out the door.

__________________
http://www.thevacantcubicle.com - The Vacant Cubicle

http://www.invoicejournal.com - Invoice your customers for free.

Last edited by _detz_; 15th May 2007 at 12:38 PM.
_detz_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply   

Bookmarks




Thread Tools

Get Updates
RSS Feeds:
RSS Feed for General Small Business Issues RSS for this Category Only: General Small Business Issues

RSS Feed for Small Business Ideas Forum RSS for Entire Forum
Forum Rules


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Small Business Ideas Forum


 
At Your Business - Small Business Directory
Free Business Forms - Prewritten Documents
 
Search Engine Guide
Small business guide to search marketing

 
Small Business Brief
Fetching the Best Small Business Info


Free Links - Free Advertising
Free Guide - Online Directory



Advertise your business here
Contact us for more details!


Semantic Juice
Register now to access free Quick SEO service!


Rocket Lawyer
Sign up for free 7 day trial. Boost your biz!


Buy UPC Codes
Get your products listed online!




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004 - 2018 - Privacy