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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Question Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    My question involves business law in the state of: Michigan

    I caught an Ex-Client of mine in violation of our Do Not Compete clause detailed on in the agreement we entered into when we started doing business together. I notified the Ex-Client of my intent to recover the full portion they agreed to pay as part of the Do Not Compete. They involved their attorney right away and I have been going back and forth with them to reach a settlement. I'm confident they want to keep this issue out of court, because the actions of the Ex-Client were very deliberate and would most likely end in our favor if it went to court. However, I'm equally motivated to keep this issue out of court because of the potential time I'd need to invest.

    Between the Ex-Client's attorney and myself I believe we've reached a point where no additional dollars will be part of the settlement discussion. Currently, the attorney has only been able to offer me around 50% of what our Do Not Compete asks for. Since I've realized that we're not going to be able to settle on a reasonable amount, it got my gears turning. That is, what might it look like if I ask, as part of a formal settlement, that the Ex-Client post a positive online review on my company?

    Part of me feels greasy even going down that road, as I've always prided myself on organic reviews. However, my logic is as follows:

    1. Since I'm being asked to settle for way less, this would be a non-momentary form of compensation
    2. Since the Ex-Client doesn't have to pay as much, they might be more inclined to corporate
    2. By making it a formal request in a settlement agreement, the Ex-Client is less likely to turn around and post a negative review
    3. The settlement agreement could also include language banning a negative review

    Sounds like a lot of reasons to just move ahead with this idea, but here's where I'm concerned:

    1. Could a request such as this be viewed as bribery or something else that would end up having me find myself in a thicker legal battle?
    2. Can language like what I'm thinking even be included in a settlement agreement, is it allowed?
    3. The mere fact of bringing up an idea like this might cause the Ex-Client to not agree to a settlement at all, and now they know reviews are important to us so they decide to bash us anyway.

    I'm hopeful someone can help guide me to make the right decision here. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    3,664

    Default Re: Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    Non-Disclosure Agreements and Non-Disparagement Agreements are not unusual in civil lawsuit settlements.

    If you have the skills necessary to write such an agreement is what you need to worry about. Have you consulted an attorney?

  3. #3
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    Dec 2017
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    Default Re: Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    I have not involved my attorney yet. Namely due to the fact that I don't see the need for their involvement if a settlement can be reached. Since it looks like that settlement amount will be small, involving my attorney might end up causing me to break even, not to mention all the stress and headaches.

    I supposed I made an assumption that a settlement agreement would be part of the deal. Should I ask the other attorney if they would be willing to write an agreement that we both sign?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,700

    Default Re: Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    I can see asking that the client not make any disparaging/negative reviews about you as part of the settlement. You may certainly ask the client for a positive review, but if by doing that the review does not truly reflect what the client thinks you'll have just deceived potential customers by posting a false review. That might violate consumer protection laws that prohibit false/misleading statements and advertising. Even if it doesn't end up violating such laws, do you really want to go down that road? Keeping the guy from posting anything negative ought to be enough — at least he won't trash you. And when he says nothing you don't run the risk of violating those consumer protection laws.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    10

    Default Re: Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    Thanks! That's the kind of insight I needed to hear. Never would have crossed my mind, but you make a valid point.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    Quote Quoting McLawsalot
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    Should I ask the other attorney if they would be willing to write an agreement that we both sign?
    Oh Good God NO!!!!.

    That attorney works for the other side.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Default Re: Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    UPDATE: I finally reached out to my attorney. Mostly to see if I should keep pushing for a full settlement or accept a lower amount. My attorney recommended that I accept an offer as fighting the matter could end up costing more than the settlement amount. I brought up the review idea as well, and they agreed that it would not be advisable. They said it would be perfectly fine to include language that the Ex-Client may not disparage the Company in any way including negative online reviews.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Requesting Online Review As Part of Do Not Compete Settlement

    Quote Quoting McLawsalot
    View Post
    UPDATE: I finally reached out to my attorney. Mostly to see if I should keep pushing for a full settlement or accept a lower amount. My attorney recommended that I accept an offer as fighting the matter could end up costing more than the settlement amount. I brought up the review idea as well, and they agreed that it would not be advisable. They said it would be perfectly fine to include language that the Ex-Client may not disparage the Company in any way including negative online reviews.
    That's great. Are you going to have your attorney finish the settlement negotiations or at least review the settlement especially the non-disparagement clause?

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