United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
LEO TRIPP, ET AL.
RICHARD PICKENS, ET AL.
G. JAMES JUDGE, MARK L. HORNSBY MAG. JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a contract dispute between the parties. Plaintiffs Leo Tripp,
his father, Jimmy Tripp, and their business associate, Steve
Stone, brought this action against Defendants Richard Pickens
(“Pickens”) and Richart Distributors d/b/a
Flomore Products (“Flomore”), alleging that they
failed to honor a contract to split the profits on a
solar-powered oil field pump. Plaintiffs assert claims of
breach of contract, detrimental reliance, and unjust
enrichment and seek damages, including punitive damages.
Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment
[Doc. No. 29] filed by Defendants.
following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
not conceding the truth of the facts asserted, for purposes
of this motion, Defendants refer the Court to the facts set
forth in paragraphs three through fifteen of the Petition:
3. On information and belief, PICKENS is the Chief Executive
Officer, President, and primary shareholder of defendant
4. In or about October 2013, the Petitioners met
representatives of the Defendants at a trade show for oil
field supply products. Ultimately, the relationship between
Petitioners and Defendants developed to the point that
Petitioners introduced PICKENS to the idea of launching a new
product, specifically a solar-powered chemical injection pump
to be used in oil-and-gas-production. The Petitioners had
been working on a design for a new and improved solar powered
pump, the S2000, which was conceived of and designed by
Petitioners and had numerous advantages over the pump that
PICKENS and FLOMORE were marketing at the time.
5. In April 2014, PICKENS and one other member of the FLOMORE
leadership team, Manager of Operations Mitch Carey, flew from
Oklahoma to Louisiana in order to observe the
Petitioners' prototype of the S2000 in operation. The
Petitioners demonstrated the pump to the FLOMORE
representatives in Arcadia, Louisiana. PICKENS and Carey were
so impressed with the pump that PICKENS immediately agreed
that he wanted to go into business with Petitioners to
produce and market the pump.
6. During the meeting in Arcadia, Louisiana, PICKENS agreed
with Petitioners that if they would develop the S2000 pump
into a commercially marketable product, then they would all
go into business together selling the pump and split the
profits from the venture, with Petitioners receiving 50% and
PICKENS/FLOMORE receiving 50% of the net profits from each
sale of an S2000 pump. This proposal was attractive to
Petitioners because it offered them a chance to market the
pump to FLOMORE's broad customer base. PICKENS and
FLOMORE would receive the benefit of the Petitioners' new
and improved pump design and their efforts to bring it to
market. Petitioners and PICKENS affirmatively agreed and
shook hands on the deal, thereby forming a valid and
7. Thereafter, and at the urging of PICKENS and FLOMORE, the
Petitioners embarked on an intensive effort to get the S2000
pump ready for sale. Petitioners traveled from Louisiana to
Oklahoma numerous times to work on the S2000's design and
production. They met and worked with a number of employees of
FLOMORE and also with some of FLOMORE's suppliers.
Ultimately, because of their extraordinary efforts and
immense devotion of time to the project, Petitioners
completed development of the S2000 within six months. A
project of this scope usually requires two to three years to
complete, but Petitioners were able to complete the
development within six months because they significantly
reduced the amount of time devoted to their other business,
causing a substantial reduction in sales, while they
developed the S2000 for market.
8. During this development period, Petitioners had another
meeting with PICKENS in which they again discussed their
agreement to develop and market the pump in exchange for 50%
of the net profits from the venture. At this meeting, PICKENS
proposed and Petitioners agreed that they would form a new
division of FLOMORE in order to market the pump. Petitioners
would be 50% owners of this new division and would receive
50% of the net profits from each sale of a pump.
9. Also during this period, petitioner LEO TRIPP met with
PICKENS numerous times to discuss the S2000. Petitioner LEO
TRIPP requested on a number of occasions that PICKENS have
his lawyers reduce their agreement to writing. Although
PICKENS told LEO TRIPP that he would do so, he never followed
through on his assurances. These promises were part of
PICKENS's scheme to induce Petitioners into continuing to
develop the S2000 pump for market.
10. As the S2000 approached completion, Petitioners used
their own customer base to conduct trials of the pump in
action. The pump exceeded expectations during these trials.
11. Additionally, petitioner LEO TRIPP was tasked by PICKENS
with developing training seminars, sales brochures, and
engineering data to be used in the marketing of the pump. He
also coordinated with various manufacturers/suppliers to
secure the various components for the pump and otherwise
ensure a successful product launch.
12. As a result of Petitioners' monumental efforts, the
pump was ready for a product launch in August 2014. Still
operating in good faith and expecting Defendants PICKENS and
FLOMORE to live up to their agreement, petitioner LEO TRIPP
conducted a product launch training seminar for potential
customers at Cardon Sales, one of FLOMORE's top
distributors, located in Broussard, Louisiana on ...