People: Katherine E. Perrelli, Partner

Photo of Katherine E. Perrelli, Partner

Katherine E. Perrelli

Partner

Boston
Direct: (617) 946-4817
Fax: (617) 946-4801
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Ms. Perrelli is a partner; a co-chair of the Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group; and the immediate past Chair of Seyfarth’s national Litigation Department. In her tenure as Chair, the Department’s practice groups were awarded numerous honors for superb legal work and innovation, including Law360 Transportation Group of the Year; U.S. News Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms in Construction, Commercial Litigation, and Appellate Law; BTI Litigation Outlook “Honor Roll” recognition in Class Actions, Securities and Finance Litigation, IP Litigation, Complex Commercial Litigation, Everyday Commercial Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation; Top ranking in Trade Secrets by The Legal 500 USA, and numerous national and regional recognitions by Chambers USA.

Ms. Perrelli’s practice is national in scope and includes a wide variety of complex commercial and employment matters, including business and contract disputes, unfair competition, trade secret misappropriation and other intellectual property theft, restrictive covenant litigation, real estate litigation, franchise litigation, wrongful termination, and business torts. Her practice also includes counseling regarding employer compliance with the ADA, ADEA, Title VII, FLSA, and other state and governmental laws affecting employers. She is also frequently retained to conduct internal workplace misconduct and other corporate investigations. 

Ms. Perrelli is also a leading authority on the law of trade secrets and noncompetes. In addition to representing clients on such matters across the country in federal and state trial courts, arbitrations and mediations, she is a frequent speaker and writer on these topics. She also counsels clients on minimizing litigation risks and protecting confidential and proprietary business information and trade secrets. These services include preparation of individual and multi-state employer noncompete, non-solicit, nondisclosure and other restrictive covenant agreements; advice regarding onboarding of employees or groups of employees from a competitor, or departing employees joining a competitor; and preparation and implementation of trade secret protection programs, including trade secret audits.

Ms. Perrelli is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. Using Lean Six Sigma and project management methodologies, the SeyfarthLean approach delivers increased value to our clients at a time of increased market pressures and competitive demands. Ms. Perrelli applies these principles to her practice and also counsels clients on the use of lean six sigma, process improvements, data analytics, and project management in legal processes. She also has considerable experience in and is a frequent speaker on devising and managing alternative, value-based fee structures.

Ms. Perrelli is a member of the ABA Intellectual Property Law Section and chair of the “Interaction with Employment Law” topical subcommittee of the Trade Secrets Committee.

Ms. Perrelli has been selected regularly as one of the state’s “Super Lawyers” in Business Litigation and “Top Women Lawyers” in a joint survey conducted by the publishers of Law and Politics magazine and Boston magazine, as part of a special publication entitled “The Top Attorneys in the Northeast.”  She was also selected by U.S. News as a “Best Lawyer” in commercial litigation.

Ms. Perrelli is a partner; a co-chair of the Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group; and the immediate past Chair of Seyfarth’s national Litigation Department. In her tenure as Chair, the Department’s practice groups were awarded numerous honors for superb legal work and innovation, including Law360 Transportation Group of the Year; U.S. News Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms in Construction, Commercial Litigation, and Appellate Law; BTI Litigation Outlook “Honor Roll” recognition in Class Actions, Securities and Finance Litigation, IP Litigation, Complex Commercial Litigation, Everyday Commercial Litigation, and Product Liability Litigation; Top ranking in Trade Secrets by The Legal 500 USA, and numerous national and regional recognitions by Chambers USA.

Ms. Perrelli’s practice is national in scope and includes a wide variety of complex commercial and employment matters, including business and contract disputes, unfair competition, trade secret misappropriation and other intellectual property theft, restrictive covenant litigation, real estate litigation, franchise litigation, wrongful termination, and business torts. Her practice also includes counseling regarding employer compliance with the ADA, ADEA, Title VII, FLSA, and other state and governmental laws affecting employers. She is also frequently retained to conduct internal workplace misconduct and other corporate investigations. 

Ms. Perrelli is also a leading authority on the law of trade secrets and noncompetes. In addition to representing clients on such matters across the country in federal and state trial courts, arbitrations and mediations, she is a frequent speaker and writer on these topics. She also counsels clients on minimizing litigation risks and protecting confidential and proprietary business information and trade secrets. These services include preparation of individual and multi-state employer noncompete, non-solicit, nondisclosure and other restrictive covenant agreements; advice regarding onboarding of employees or groups of employees from a competitor, or departing employees joining a competitor; and preparation and implementation of trade secret protection programs, including trade secret audits.

Ms. Perrelli is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. Using Lean Six Sigma and project management methodologies, the SeyfarthLean approach delivers increased value to our clients at a time of increased market pressures and competitive demands. Ms. Perrelli applies these principles to her practice and also counsels clients on the use of lean six sigma, process improvements, data analytics, and project management in legal processes. She also has considerable experience in and is a frequent speaker on devising and managing alternative, value-based fee structures.

Ms. Perrelli is a member of the ABA Intellectual Property Law Section and chair of the “Interaction with Employment Law” topical subcommittee of the Trade Secrets Committee.

Ms. Perrelli has been selected regularly as one of the state’s “Super Lawyers” in Business Litigation and “Top Women Lawyers” in a joint survey conducted by the publishers of Law and Politics magazine and Boston magazine, as part of a special publication entitled “The Top Attorneys in the Northeast.”  She was also selected by U.S. News as a “Best Lawyer” in commercial litigation.

Education

  • J.D., Western New England University School of Law (1984)
    Member, Western New England University School of Law Review

  • B.A., Skidmore College (1980)

Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • New York

Courts

  • US District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • US District Court, District of Connecticut
  • US District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • US District Court, Southern District of New York
  • US Court of Appeals, First Circuit

Affiliations

  • Litigation Counsel of America (Fellow)
  • Diversity Law Institute (Member)
  • Trial Law Institute (Member)
  • American Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Boston Bar Association
  • New York Bar Association
  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (Member)

Representative Engagements

Select Unfair Competition Litigation Experience

  • Defended leading clinical toxicology laboratory at multiday arbitration hearing against claims by former sales contractor claiming upwards of $65 million in unpaid commissions and interest over nine years.  Successfully disposed of multiple claims (including those providing for multiple damages and attorneys’ fees),  limiting damages period to three months and total damages to well under 1% of claim.
  • Prosecuted multi-jurisdictional unfair competition claims against clinical toxicology laboratory which engaged in misinformation campaign against competitor laboratory implying violations of federal health care fraud statutes, and defended counterclaim alleging violations of same federal health care fraud statutes. Favorably settled litigation after obtaining dismissal of the counterclaim on the eve of trial.
  • Defended and favorably settled claims of aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract, and unfair competition against financial services firm brought by competitor concerning decision of several employees of competitor to leave and join client firm. Favorable settlement after mediation.
  • Prosecuted claim on behalf of insurance brokerage firm in suit against former owner and director, and competitor for breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, interference with contract, and unfair competition.  Favorable settlement after TRO entered.
  • Prosecuted and favorably settled claims after 4 week bench trial for breach of contract, unfair trade practices, and conversion on behalf of a commodities firm against a common carrier to recover value of “lost” or “stolen” fuel products. 
  • Prosecuted and favorably settled action brought by manufacturer of complex computer software against licensee for unfair trade practices and breach of contract.
  • Defended and defeated a motion for preliminary injunction against a financial services company brought by a former executive for misappropriation of intellectual property.

Select Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenant Litigation Experience

  • Prosecuted claims in North Carolina on behalf of international application and network performance management company against former senior-level salesman for breach of restrictive covenants arising out of abrupt departure and joining of competitor.  Obtained favorable settlement minutes before preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing.
  • Prosecuted claims in Massachusetts on behalf of international application and network performance management company against former senior-level sales engineer for breach of restrictive covenants arising out of abrupt departure and employment with competitor.  Obtained broad preliminary injunctive relief requiring employee to stay out of his former territory and away from certain identified customers, among other things.
  • Prosecuted claims on behalf of the largest industrial plumbing supplier in North America in multiple jurisdictions against competitor and eight former senior-level employees for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duties and restrictive covenant agreements, unfair competition, and conspiracy, among others, arising out of competitor’s raiding of entire Ohio Valley industrial group and attempted poaching of major customers.   Reached settlement on the eve of trial requiring multi-million dollar payment and extensive restrictions on hiring and solicitation of employees and customers, among other things.
  • Prosecuted and favorably settled a complex non-compete action in federal court involving ten employees who joined a competitor, including claims of breach of contract, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, unfair trade practices, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Defended and defeated motion for preliminary injunction to prohibit clinical toxicology laboratory from hiring a sales person from another company.  Case voluntarily dismissed by adversary after denial of motion.
  • Defended and favorably settled an action brought against a biotech company and one of its senior level employees against claims for trade secret misappropriation under the “inevitable disclosure” doctrine.
  • Prosecuted claims on behalf of executive staffing agency in action against four former employees and competitor for breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of fiduciary duty.  Obtained favorable settlement after motion for temporary restraining order filed.

Select Complex Commercial Litigation Experience

  • Defended and tried to verdict an action over alleged breach of asset purchase agreement and misrepresentation in connection with the purchase of assets of a US corporation by a Canadian public company, including issues of scope of preemption of non-contract claims by terms of contract and evidentiary issues related to admissibility of prior acts.  Jury awarded five times less than damages sought by plaintiff.
  • Secured a victory for a large pharmaceutical company in an arbitration involving a complex contract dispute with a pharmacy benefit manager involving a breach of a rebate agreement.
  • Defended and obtained voluntary dismissal with prejudice claims of breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against banking institution after targeted discovery on factual basis of claims.
  • Prosecuted motion for preliminary injunction against retail franchisee resulting in immediate eviction of franchisee and surrender of inventory and intellectual property.
  • Defended and successfully tried breach of contact action resulting from a failed art transaction, involving complex issues of agent liability.
  • Prosecuted claims on behalf of inventor, majority shareholder and founder of technology of telecommunications company in contract dispute over the transfer of intellectual property rights.  Obtained a favorable settlement prior to commencing litigation.
  • Prosecuted and favorably settled action brought by founder and minority shareholder of a closely held software company claiming breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Defended and favorably settled an action brought by national pharmaceutical distributor in multi-million dollar dispute over the sale and pricing of pharmaceutical goods to a Massachusetts home-based healthcare business.

Select Employment Litigation

  • Defended manufacturing company against discrimination claims of a former employee before the MCAD.  Obtained dismissal following appeal of Lack of Probable Cause decision.
  • Defended and favorably settled two discrimination actions against a manufacturing company brought by two former employees before the MCAD.
  • Defended manufacturing company against race discrimination claims of former employee before the MCAD. Obtained dismissal following Lack of Probable Cause decision.
  • Defended and favorably settled sexual and pregnancy discrimination claims brought by former employee against global nonprofit organization.
  • Defended and favorably settled sexual harassment claims brought by former independent contractor against financial services firm.

Representative Publications/Presentations

Ms. Perrelli has written articles on various topics for business and trade publications on issues relating to trade secrets protection, internal investigations, and business litigation. She has also served on the faculty of Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education seminars, Association of Corporate Counsel, and presented at other industry conferences.

Community Involvement

  • Corporate Founding Sponsor Member, Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • Board of Directors, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce 
  • President’s Advisory Council, Skidmore College
  • Participant/Fundraiser, Best Buddies International, Hyannis Port Challenge
  • Participant/Fundraiser, Pan Mass Challenge

Accolades

  • Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Named as One of The 2016 Top Women of Law
  • Best Lawyer, US News - Commercial Litigation (2018)
  • Super Lawyer - Business Litigation (2007 to date)