A cease and desist letter is a formal demand that someone stops allegedly illegal or unlawful activity, like a breach of contract. They are especially common in employment litigation, business litigation, neighbor disputes, and internet defamation. Here is what you can do to protect your rights and interests if you want to file a letter or have received one.
How Do I File an Effective Cease and Desist Letter?
If someone is doing something that harms you in some way and you want to invoke your rights and get them to stop, filing a cease and desist letter against the offender is generally the first step to take. It is often the precursor to a civil lawsuit, as it informs the offender that you intend to take the incident to court if it does stop.
Some common situations where you may want to file a cease and desist letter include:
- An employee is violating a non-compete agreement or a non-disclosure agreement
- Someone is not abiding by the terms of a contract
- A former employee is soliciting others in the workplace
- Someone, like a competing business, is spreading libel or slander or defaming your business on social media, review sites, or elsewhere on the internet
- A neighbor is trespassing or trying to adversely possess property
- A commercial tenant is violating the terms of their lease
A strongly-worded cease and desist letter can be enough to stop the harmful activity at once. An attorney can help to make this happen by:
- Telling the recipient exactly what they need to stop doing
- Informing them what legal or contractual rights they are violating
- Describing what steps will be taken, if the recipient does not stop within a specified period of time
- Making the letter look formal and sending it on the law firm's letterhead
- Mailing the letter through certified mail, so there is a record that it was sent and received
What Should I Do if I Receive a Cease and Desist Letter?
Receiving a cease and desist letter – especially one that was drafted by a lawyer – can be nerve-wracking. However, it is important to know that lots of cease and desist letters are sent by parties that are overreaching their rights. In many cases, the party sending the letter knows full well that they are demanding too much, but want to see if they will get away with it.
If you have received a cease and desist letter, the best thing that you can do is to talk to a lawyer, right away. This is especially true if the conduct at issue is important to you or impacts your livelihood. An attorney is far more likely to know if the demands in a cease and desist letter have merit or not. Going it alone and getting it wrong can put you in a bad position to defend an expensive lawsuit that costs far more than getting legal help, at the beginning. Additionally, by hiring an attorney to respond to the letter, it shows the party that sent it that you mean business and that you intend to fight for your rights.
Massachusetts Business Litigation Lawyers at the Katz Law Group
The business and contract litigation lawyers at the Katz Law Group can help with your cease and desist letter. Call their law office at (508) 480-8202 or contact them online for help in Worcester, Framingham, Marlborough, or the rest of Massachusetts.