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Overview

Hank Jackson is a partner in the West Palm Beach office of Shutts & Bowen LLP, where he is a member of the Business Litigation Practice Group. He is both Board Certified in Business Litigation by the Florida Bar and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Circuit Mediator.

A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated attorney with over 30 years of trial experience, Hank has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©. He regularly represents companies and individuals in business disputes, including breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, interference with business relationships, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair trade practices. He has extensive experience litigating non-compete restrictions and trade secret claims arising out of the sale of a business as well as employment relationships. Hank is a published author and has lectured on non-compete and trade secret law.

Hank’s experienced in handling business control and dissolution claims among business owners within closely held corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, or professional associations. He frequently represents clients in various industries, including:

  • healthcare (hospitals, physicians and suppliers)
  • hospitality (hotel owners and management companies)
  • real estate (developers, lenders, and brokers)
  • financial services (banking, insurance and accounting)
  • agriculture
  • telecommunications
  • manufacturing

Sample of Cases:

Healthcare

  • Lead counsel pursuing claims on behalf of seven physicians who broke off from a large multi-specialty group. The case concerned the interpretation of an operating agreement, distribution of profits, and the extent of non-compete restrictions. After a six day trial before the American Health Lawyers Arbitration Service, a substantial award was entered in favor of our clients.
  • Lead counsel representing a small group medical practice against an employee physician who conducted data mining of patient billing records prior to resigning his employment and opening at competing practice.  Suit was brought for breach of non-compete and confidential provisions of an employment agreement as well as misappropriation of trade secrets.  After substantial discovery, including computer forensics, the case settled on terms favorable to our clients.
  • Lead counsel bringing suit on behalf of a national therapy clinic against former employees and their newly created business that was operating in direct violation of the terms of their non-compete agreements. This included obtaining a temporary restraining order in federal district court ceasing the operations of the competing business.

Hospitality

  • Lead counsel defending owner of a hotel resort in a suit brought by an executive who alleged entitlement to a percentage of the sale price of the resort pursuant to an asset participation agreement. This matter involved complex claims of breach of contract (including non-compete agreements), fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and defamation.  It settled a week before trial on favorable terms to our client.
  • Member of trial and appellate teams drawn from three different law firms to represent the owner of a large oceanfront resort against national hotel management company for breach of the operating agreement, breach of fiduciary duty and an accounting regarding cost allocations. Successfully obtained a judgment declaring that the resort owner had the power to immediately terminate the hotel operator based upon a personal services theory of contract law.
  • Lead counsel representing purchaser of hotel in connection with seller’s breaches of representation and warranties contained in the purchase and sale agreement.

Financial Services and Other Matters

  • Lead counsel in defending a national marketing company and its chief executive in a lawsuit brought by the executive’s former employer.  The former employer alleged violation of trade secrets and the pirating away of employees.  This “bet the company” case was litigated over several years in multiple courts before a comprehensive settlement was reached.
  • Member of multiple law firm trial team defending national accounting firm against the plaintiff’s claim of an alleged joint venture and misappropriation of trade secrets (telecommunication technology).  The value of the trade secrets was in excess of a hundred million dollars. Through early evaluation and settlement, the client avoided a substantial verdict that was entered against non-settling co-defendants.
  • Lead counsel in bringing suit on behalf of a minority shareholder in a closely held distribution company against the majority owner for breach of the shareholder agreement, an accounting, and valuation of shares pursuant to a mandatory buy-out provision. The case was tried before an arbitrator pursuant to Rules of the American Arbitration Association.  A substantial award was entered for our client, including recovery of all the client’s attorneys’ fees.

Education

  • University of Arkansas, J.D., with honors
    • Law Review
  • University of Arkansas, B.A.
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • Arkansas

Court Admissions

  • All Florida Courts

Professional and Civic Activities

  • The Florida Bar
    • Business Litigation Certification Committee (Chair, 2018)
  • Fellow, Florida Bar Foundation
  • Palm Beach County Bar Association
  • Board of Directors, YMCA of South Palm Beach County (Treasurer)
  • Board of Directors, Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County (1999-2012)

Recognition

  • Board Certified in Business Litigation by the Florida Bar
  • Certified Civil Circuit Mediator by the Florida Supreme Court
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rated, 5.0 out of 5.0 (highest rating for competence and ethics)
  • Appellate Law Award, Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County
  • Award of Merit, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Litigation-Intellectual Property, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Florida Trend Legal Elite, 2018
  • “Top Lawyer,” Palm Beach Illustrated, 2018

Presentations

  • “Florida’s Noncompete Statute – Florida’s Supreme Court Weighs-In,” Statewide Litigation Practice, Nov. 2017
  • “Recent Developments in Noncompete Restrictions,” Palm Beach County Bar Association/Transaction Committee, Feb. 2015
  • Best Trends and Practices in Avoiding Trade Secrets and Third Party Litigation,” The Knowledge Group, Webcast, May 2015
  • “Update on Physician Employee Contracting: Breaking Up can be Hard,” Florida Association of Orthopedic Administrators, Annual Conference, September 2013

Publications

  • Florida’s Noncompete Statute: ‘Reasonable’ or ‘Truly Obnoxious?,'” The Florida Bar Journal, March 2018
  • “Q&A with Judge Paul Huey regarding Florida Bar Certification in Business Litigation,” The Capstone, Fall 2017
  • Subpoena for Documents to a Party’s Accountant – How to Protect the Accountant-Client Privilege,” Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin, May 2015
  • Revised Florida Arbitration Code — Temporary Injunctions,” Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin, May 2014
  • “Shareholder and Member Rights to Accounting Records: What if the Statutorily Required Record Does Not Exist?”, Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin, September 2013.
  • “Arbitration Clauses – Specific Provision Does Not Obliterate General Provision,” Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin, March 2013
  • “Piercing of the Corporate Veil – Extends Only to the Shareholders,” Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin, November 2012
  • “Ill-Gotten Gains Inadequate to Prove Damages for Breach of Non-Compete,” Palm Beach County Bar Bulletin, September 2010
  • Uniform Trade Secrets Act Protects Unpatented Machine Design,” IP Update, December 2009
  • “Non-Competition Restrictions as Terms in Initial Offers under Buy/Sell Provisions – A Monkey Wrench,” Florida Bar Journal, May 2008
  • “Employee Noncompetition Agreements – Will They Survive When the Employer is Acquired?” Intellectual Property and Technology Newsletter, October 2003
  • “Worker’s Compensation –Supervisory Employees are Immune from Tort Actions,” Note, 8 UALR Law Journal 523, (1985-86), reprinted in 10 Workmen’s Compensation Law Review 759 (1987) and 2 Nat. Ins. Law Review 393 (1987).