Shawn Butte, an associate in the New York office, is an employment litigator with a focus on restrictive covenant and trade secret matters.
Shawn's practice involves crafting creative, practical solutions to complex legal challenges faced by multinational corporations and emerging companies in a range of industries, including media, software, insurance, financial services, retail and pharmaceuticals.
Shawn regularly handles high-stakes litigation involving post-employment restrictions, employee raiding, trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, and class and collective actions. Shawn has experience in both federal and state court, as well as in alternative dispute forums such as the American Arbitration Association, and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in TRO and preliminary injunction hearings.
In addition to his litigation practice, Shawn advises management on a variety of workplace issues, including employee mobility, trade secret protection, wage and hour policies, employee classification, and internal investigations. He also frequently serves as outside counsel to both domestic and international startups trying to expand in the U.S. market. Shawn uses his experience as a litigator to help clients proactively avoid protracted legal disputes. Shawn has also advised clients on employment issues in connection with mergers, acquisitions and other corporate transactions.
Shawn is recognized by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro area "Rising Star” (2018).
The start of September means that summer is unofficially over. However, the end of beach season also means that big changes to state non-compete laws are on the horizon.
In the past three months, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have all passed legislation directly aimed at curtailing the use of non-compete agreements. This flurry of activity reflects a growing national concern about the fairness of non-compete restrictions and their impact on the U.S. workforce. For tangible evidence of this increasing concern, look no further than the preambles of the new laws in Maine and Maryland, both of which declare non-compete agreements as “against public policy.”
On Wednesday, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Texas declined to award any damages to Huawei Technologies Co., the world’s largest telecommunications company, stemming from its allegations of trade secret theft, employee poaching, and restrictive covenant violations against former employee Yiren Ronnie Huang (“Huang”) and startup CNEX Labs, Inc. (“CNEX”). Huang and CNEX, in turn, asserted counterclaims of trade secret theft against Huawei. Although the jury found Huang violated his post-employment obligations to Huawei and that Huawei misappropriated CNEX’s trade secrets, the jury did not award damages to either party. The verdict came after a contentious three-week trial before Judge Amos Mazzant on the parties’ dueling trade secret claims.