Bernard J. Fuhs

Bernard J. Fuhs is an equity shareholder based in Butzel Long's Detroit office. He is nationally recognized expert on non-compete and trade secret matters, having litigated and/or counseled clients on such matters in all 50 states and has presented to many national and local business and/or legal organizations regarding the same.  Mr. Fuhs also specializes in franchise litigation and serves as Chair of the firm’s Franchise Specialty Team.  He also has significant experience in minority shareholder oppression disputes, financial services industry disputes (including proceedings with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)), real estate, sales representative matters and cannabis law (licensing and appeals). Mr. Fuhs also advises start-up and closely held businesses, as well as sports and fitness industry members.

Mr. Fuhs has been selected as a Business Litigation, Trade Secret and Franchise Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine. He has been selected as a Michigan Super Lawyer (an award recognized no more than 2.5% of lawyers in Michigan) every year since 2013. Mr. Fuhs was named to Crain's Detroit Business' "40 under 40" class, which honors "the best and brightest in Southeast Michigan who have made their marks in business before age 40." Named to L. Brooks Patterson's Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, which includes young thought leaders and trailblazers who live or work in Oakland County and are under the age of 40.

Mr. Fuhs also currently serves as the Co-Chair of Butzel Long's Diversity & Recruiting Committee.  He is also a member of the firm’s Non-Compete and Trade Secret Specialty Team and Cannabis Law Specialty Team.

Education

Mr. Fuhs is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2006) and the University of Detroit Mercy (B.S., summa cum laude, 2003). He interned for Chief Justice Maura Corrigan of the Michigan Supreme Court; he was a four year player on the Division 1 Men's Basketball team at UDM; President of the 2nd Year Class at UDM School of Law; on Law Review; a member of the Justice Frank Murphy Honor Society; and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi.

Mr. Fuhs also enjoyed many honors as an undergraduate including the following: Captain of 2002/2003 UDM Division 1 Men's Basketball Team; the Wall Street Journal Award - Top Student in the UDM College of Business Administration; the Financial Executives International Award - most outstanding undergraduate student in Accounting and Finance; the Beta Alpha Psi Award - highest scholastic average in undergraduate program; member of the All Horizon League Athletic Academic Team - (2002/2003); the President's and Horizon League Honor Roll all four years; and the William Ebben Award for athletic and academic excellence. He was on the Dean's list all years attended at UDM and UDM School of Law, and received the Cavanaugh scholarship at UDM School of Law.

Recent Case Highlights

  • On behalf of a leading global franchisor engaged in the moving industry, successfully obtained ex parte TRO, preliminary injunction, and ultimately permanent injunction against former franchisee and a direct competitor prohibiting them from operating a moving company within the restricted territory and from otherwise violating their obligations under the Franchise Agreement and related contracts.
  • On behalf of a national franchisor operating an insurance sales operating system with agencies in niche insurance markets, successfully obtained permanent injunction order against former franchisee who had operated four (4) locations within Las Vegas, Nevada, which ordered her to comply with her post-termination non-compete obligations under the Franchise Agreements, and thereafter resolved the dispute resulting in the amicable transfer of the locations to the franchisor.
  • Successfully represented minority shareholder in a shareholder oppression case under MCL 450.1541 (the Michigan Business Corporation Act), obtaining an immediate injunction/order escrowing over $3,000,000 in real estate sale proceeds and thereafter negotiating a favorable settlement for the client.
  • Successfully defended national forklift distributor in Federal Court in Florida against claims for tortious interference with a non-compete agreement and trade secret theft under the Florida Uniform Trade Secret Act.
  • Successfully defended a publicly-traded electronics corporation on a $40,000,000 breach of contract action brought by a New York based private equity firm
  • On behalf of a 40-year old Michigan-based company that specializes in premium metalworking fluids, industrial cleaners and corrosion management solutions, successfully obtained a $2,400,000 judgment against a former consultant and his US and Canadian entities in Oakland County Circuit Court relative to claims for breach of contract, tortious interference action and unfair competition.
  • Acted as lead attorney and negotiator in a transportation/logistics dispute for a prominent tier-1 automotive supplier and successfully negotiated a settlement that saved the client over $1,000,000
  • On behalf of a leading developer of metrology software, successfully obtained ex parte TRO, preliminary injunction, and ultimately permanent injunction against former employee and a direct competitor prohibiting them from using or disclosing client's confidential information and trade secrets, disparaging client, developing any product or providing any services involving the use of client's confidential information and trade secrets, and from infringing upon client's copyrights
  • Successfully represented a structured products hedge fund in claims against a global European bank and its US broker-dealer affiliate arising out of the bank's refusal to complete and underwrite a contracted $1 billion ABS CDO^2
  • Represent corporate investors, including a Panamanian bank, sued by the foreign representatives overseeing the liquidation of one of the main feeder funds to the Ponzi scheme associated with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC
  • Successfully obtained numerous injunctions on behalf of a Fortune 500 staffing services company against former employees (ranging from regional managers to recruiters) relative to their non-compete, non-solicit, non-disclosure, and trade secret violations
  • Assisted in the negotiation, due diligence, and closing of a $27 million dollar asset purchase transaction on behalf of a global construction equipment manufacturer
  • Represented a distributor and marketer of engine oils against a multi-million dollar trademark lawsuit brought by a prominent petroleum and natural gas industry trade association. Successfully negotiated dismissal of client from lawsuit thereby saving the company, as well as the individually named corporate officers, from a potential multi-million dollar judgment

Professional and Community Involvement

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • American Bar Association - Employment Rights and Responsibilities Section Member and Non-Compete/Trade Secret Subcommittee Member
  • American Bar Association (Forum on Franchising)
  • Leadership Oakland - Class XXIII
  • Macomb-OU INCubator Business Advisory Board
  • Board of Directors of the University of Detroit-Mercy Titan Club
  • Dick Vitale Court Fundraising Committee (University of Detroit-Mercy)
  • Detroit Athletic Club - North American Conference of Athletic Directors (NACAD) National Basketball Championships Committee
  • Big Head Corps (affiliated with The Parade Company)

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • Panelist, “Reputation Protection: How to Preserve Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset,” Michigan Business Rap (www.businessrap.biz), September 13, 2017.
  • Presenter and Contributing Author, “The Evolving Landscape for Trade Secrets, Non-Competes and Other Restrictive Covenants: Times They Are a Changin’,” ABA Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee Midwinter Meeting, March 2017, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
  • Presenter and Contributing Author, “Strategies on Presenting (and Defending Against) Economic Damages in Employment Discrimination Cases,” 34th Annual National CLE Conference, January 2017, Aspen, Colorado.
  • Presenter, “Winning in Overtime: How to Save Money and Protect Your Business by Ensuring Compliance with Wage and Hour Laws,” Webinar Presented by Butzel Long Franchise Specialty Team, December 2016.
  • Presenter, “Death by Theft: How to Protect Your Company from Sabotage and Unfair Competition,” Butzel Long Labor & Employment Seminar, November 2016, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Contributing Author, "Counterclaims and Anti-SLAPP Actions: What Happens When the Tide Turns," ERR Non-Compete and Trade Secrets Sub-Committee of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, March 2016
  • Presenter, “Common Evidentiary Issues in Employment Litigation: What Are They, and Best Tactics to Limit Harm and Maximize the Benefit,” 33rd Annual National CLE Conference, January 2016, Vail, Colorado
  • Presenter, “Death by Theft: How to Protect Your Company from Sabotage and Unfair Competition While Saving a Few Bucks Along the Way,” MICPA Management Information & Business Show, June 2016, Novi, Michigan
  • Presenter, “Death by Theft: How to Protect Your Company from Sabotage and Unfair Competition While Saving a Few Bucks Along the Way,” DBusiness and Butzel Long Webinar, August 2015, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Moderator, “Navigating the World of Non-Competes,” ICLE On-Demand Webcast, July 2015, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Organizer/Presenter, “Death by Theft: How to Protect Your Company from Sabotage and Unfair Competition While Saving a Few Bucks Along the Way,” DBusiness and Butzel Long’s Detroit Business Symposium, January 2015, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Presenter, “Employee Sabotage?! It Happens. Be Prepared,” Butzel Long Labor & Employment Seminar, November, 2014, Dearborn, Michigan.Presenter, "The Definitive Non-Compete Agreement," ICLE Labor & Employment Law Institute, April 2014, Plymouth, Michigan
  • Presenter, "Trade Secret Protection for the Modern Employer," Butzel Long Labor & Employment Seminar, November 2013, Dearborn, Michigan
  • Presenter, "Emerging Issues in Non-Competition, Non-Hire, Non-Solicit and Trade Secret Agreements with Employees and Competitors," Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA), February 2013, Troy, Michigan
  • Presenter, "#NicePeopleDOFinishLast: Protecting Your Investment, Ideas and Trade Secrets in the Social Media Age," Macomb-OU INCubator Lunch and Learn Series, December 2012, Sterling Heights, Michigan
  • Moderator, "Non-Competes in the Electronic Workplace: Solicitation in the Age of Social Media," ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, May 2012
  • Contributing Author, "Non-Competes in the Electronic Workplace: Solicitation in the Age of Social Media," ERR Committee of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, March 2012
  • Co-author, "I Wish They All Could Be California: Why Noncompete Critics Are Singing the Wrong Song," For The Defense - Commercial Litigation, Defense Research Institute (DRI), March 2012
  • Presenter, "Nice People DO Finish Last: Protecting Company Trade Secrets in Today's Job Market," Butzel Long Labor & Employment Seminar, November 2011, Dearborn, Michigan
  • Presenter, "Non-Compete Agreements and Other Agreements Protecting Key Personnel," Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA) Commercial Trends and Legal Strategy Conference, October 2011, Troy, Michigan
  • Presenter, "Dealing with the Baggage that Travels with Employees Moving from One Financial Services Firm to Another. Trade Secrets, Non-Compete and Insider Trading Issues," Butzel Long Breakfast Briefing, March 2011, New York, New York
  • Presenter, "Protecting Your Confidential Information and Business Relationships," Michigan Press Association Annual Convention, January 2011, Detroit, Michigan
  • Co-author, "Under Attack: Why the Foes of Non-Compete Agreements Are Firing Blanks," The Voice - Defense Research Institute (DRI) - The Voice of the Defense Bar, Summer 2010
  • Co-author, "The Evolution of Personal Jurisdiction through the Technological Advances of Our Time," The Litigation Newsletter - Litigation Section, State Bar of Michigan, Summer 2008
  • Co-author, Michigan chapter, "Trade Secrets and Agreements Not to Compete," Defense Research Institute (DRI) Winter 2008
  • Contributing Editor to Products Liability Desk Reference: A Fifty-State Compendium, Morton F. Daller, Editor-in-Chief (Aspen Publishers)
  • Contributing Editor to Tort Law Desk Reference: A Fifty-State Compendium, Morton F. Daller, Editor-in-Chief (Aspen Publishers)

Additional Information

Prior to joining Butzel Long, Mr. Fuhs was the President/Co-Owner of Fastdater, Inc. of Michigan. He also clerked with Chrysler Financial in the Office of General Counsel as well as the Executive Office of Chrysler Financial as a Field Operations Analyst. Additionally, Mr. Fuhs serves as a television color analyst for NCAA and MHSAA Basketball.

Education

  • University of Detroit Mercy Undergraduate 2003, B.S.
  • University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Law School 2006, J.D.

Recognitions

Brooks' Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2013

DBusiness Top Young Lawyers, 2013

DBusiness Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Business Litigation, 2012; Trade Secrets, 2014, 2016-2019; Franchise Law, 2016-2019

Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star in Business Litigation, 2011-2012

Michigan Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2013-2018

University of Detroit Mercy - Captain of the 2002/2003 UDM Division 1 Men's Basketball Team

UDM - Wall Street Journal Award recipient for recognition as Top Student in the UDM College of Business Administration

UDM - Financial Executives International Award for most outstanding undergraduate student in Accounting and Finance

UDM - Beta Alpha Psi Award for highest scholastic average in an undergraduate program

UDM - All Horizon League Athletic Academic Team, 2002-2003

UDM - President's and Horizon League Honor Roll all four years

UDM - awarded the William Ebben Award for athletic and academic excellence

UDM and UDM School of Law - on the Dean's list all years attended

UDM School of Law - Cavanaugh scholarship recipient

Memberships

State Bar of Michigan

American Bar Association - The Forum on Franchising

Leadership Oakland - Class XXIII

Macomb-OU INCubator Business Advisory Board

University of Detroit-Mercy Titan Club - Board of Directors

Big Head Corps (affiliated with The Parade Company)

Experience

  • Inevitable Disclosure / Trade Secret Theft. Brought action against two employees and their new company after they resigned from a Tier-1 automotive supplier to join a competing company, alleging trade secret theft and contract violations
  • Breach of Contract. Successfully defended a publicly-traded electronics corporation on a $40 million dollar breach of contract action brought by a private equity firm.
  • Represented provider of infrastructure services to the electric utility, gas, power and telecommunications markets in a lawsuit.
  • Represented global staffing, employment and recruiting company nationally in trade secret and non-compete matters and obtained injunctions in approximately 70 cases in 2007-2008.
  • Non-Compete / Non-Disclosure / Trade Secret Theft. Brought action against former regional vice president employee and his new employer after he resigned from an electrical contracting and engineering resources firm
  • Represented provider of infrastructure services to the electric utility, gas, power and telecommunications markets in a lawsuit. We enforced restrictive covenant to the fullest extent and recovered majority of attorney fees.
  • Breach of Contract. Successfully defended an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) on a $500,000 breach of contract action brought by a staffing firm, alleging tortious interference with a contract and business relationships with its employees.
  • Non-Disclosure / Trade Secret Theft. On behalf of a leading developer of metrology software, brought action against former employee and new employer, alleging trade secret theft, contract violations

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