CanI press charges against my father-in-law for stealing my business if there was no written contract?

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CanI press charges against my father-in-law for stealing my business if there was no written contract?

I own an independent snack cake/bread distributing business and about 1 1/2 years ago. I had to let an employee go and was left short handed. My father-in-law offered to help by running the route until we could find a replacement. After a few months of running the route, without my knowledge, my father in law got a business license, started purchasing product from my suppliers and began servicing my stores for himself. Is there anything legally I can do to force him to give the stops back?

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Business Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an attorney with experience in business litigation. You *may* be able to sue your father-in-law, either for monetary compensation or for an order stopping from doing this, IF it is the case that he misapproriated proprietary or confidential information, such as your customer list or the list and contact information of your suppliers, to start his own business. You can't stop him from generally competing with you, unless there had been a non-competition agreement (in the future, have one; the lawyer can draft one for you), but you might be able to stop him from competing using information he stole from you.


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