Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Causin, L.L.C. v. Pace Safety Consultants, LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

January 30, 2019

CAUSIN, L.L.C., D/B/A BAYOU SAFETY AND SUPPLY
v.
PACE SAFETY CONSULTANTS, LLC AND JAY R. BAKER

          APPEAL FROM 25TH JDC, PARISH OF PLAQUEMINES NO. 63-949, DIVISION "A" Honorable Kevin D. Conner, Judge

          Lloyd N. Frischhertz Marc Lloyd Frischhertz Anthony J. Impastato FRISCHHERTZ, POULLIARD FRISCHHERTZ & IMPASTATO, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE

          Thomas Robert Peak John Asley Moore Jonathan A. Moore TAYLOR PORTER BROOKS & PHILLIPS COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

          Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins, Judge Paula A. Brown

          PAULA A. BROWN JUDGE

         This action involves a nonsolicitation/noncompetition agreement. A dispute arose between Appellee, Causin, L.L.C. d/b/a Bayou Safety and Supply ("Causin"), a former employer and Appellants, Jay R. Baker, ("Mr. Baker") a former employee, and Mr. Baker's company, Pace Safety Consultants, LLC ("Pace Safety")(collectively, "Mr. Baker"). Causin filed in the district court a petition for declaratory judgment, preliminary injunction, permanent injunction and damages (the "Petition") alleging Mr. Baker violated the conditions of the nonsolicitation/noncompetition and confidentiality agreement (the "Non-Compete Document") which Mr. Baker signed during his employment with Causin. In turn, Mr. Baker filed an article 965 motion for judgment on the pleadings (the "Article 965 Motion"). Following a trial on the Petition and the Article 965 Motion, the district court rendered a judgment on May 3, 2018, in favor of Causin.

         From this judgment, Mr. Baker appeals. For the reasons set forth below, we amend the district court's judgment, and affirm the district court's judgment in all other respects.

         FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Causin is domiciled in Plaquemines Parish and its principal place of business is in Plaquemines Parish. Mr. Baker was employed as a vice-president of Causin. As a condition of his employment, on April, 7, 2017, Mr. Baker was presented with the Non-Compete Document. The Non-Compete Document restricted Mr. Baker from being employed by or engaging in the same or similar business as Causin and from soliciting any of Causin's customers during Mr. Baker's employment and for two years from the date of termination of his employment.

         Mr. Baker's employment with Causin ended on July 25, 2017. After leaving Causin, Mr. Baker began his own safety company, Pace Safety, which does business in Plaquemines Parish. Pace Safety is in direct competition with Causin.

         On September 13, 2017, Causin filed the Petition against Mr. Baker alleging that Mr. Baker violated the terms of the Non-Compete Document by establishing Pace Safety.

         Mr. Baker filed a peremptory exception of nonjoinder of a party (the "Exception") on October 24, 2017, and a renewed Exception on November 2, 2017, asserting that Causin should be ordered to supplement his petition to join all of its subsidiaries and affiliates. Following the district court's granting of the Exception and the renewed Exception, Causin filed its First and Second Supplemental and Amended Petitions adding its subsidiaries and affiliates as plaintiffs.[1]

         Thereafter, Mr. Baker filed an Article 965 Motion asserting: (1) Mr. Baker did not agree to the Non-Compete Document; (2) the Non-Compete Document was not signed on behalf of Causin or any of the plaintiffs; (3) the Non-Compete Document did not comply with the requirements of La. R.S. 23:921; and (4) the Non-Compete Document was ambiguous.

         A trial was held on April 2, 2018, on Causin's Petition and Mr. Baker's Article 965 Motion. The matter was submitted on the pleadings, briefs, and arguments of counsel; no testimony was taken. However, the parties entered an oral stipulation that if the Non-Compete Document was in fact valid and enforceable, Mr. Baker had violated its terms. As well, the parties stipulated:

Plaintiffs' Stipulation:
If permitted to testify, Randy J. Causin would testify that he intended to bind Causin, L.L.C. to that [Non-Compete Document], a copy of which is attached as Exhibit "A" to the original petition herein.
Defendants' Stipulation:
If permitted to testify. Jay R. Baker would testify that he signed as presented, without revision, that [Non-Compete Document], a copy of which is attached as Exhibit "A" to the original petition herein, that he returned the [Non-Compete Document] to Karen Causin Gaudet, and that Randy J. Causin did not witness his signature.

         On May 3, 2018, the district court issued a judgment in favor of Causin, denying the Article 965 Motion and finding that the Non-Compete Document was a "valid and enforceable non-compete agreement which satisfied the requirements of La. R.S. 23:921." As a result, the district court granted Causin's Petition, and First and Second Supplemental and Amended Petitions in all respects except for the issue of damages which the district court indicated would be heard separately. The judgment also enjoined Mr. Baker from conducting business in competition with Causin as delineated by the Non-Compete Document.[2]This appeal follows.

         THE NON-COMPETE DOCUMENT

         The Non-Compete Document provided in pertinent part:

As a condition of my employment with Causin LLC, Bayou Supply & Safety, its subsidiaries, affiliates, successors, or assigns (together "the Company"), and in consideration of my employment with the Company and my receipt of the compensation now and hereafter paid to me by the Company, I agree to be bound by the following provisions of this agreement:
(A) Employee and the Company acknowledge and agree that the Company is engaged in the highly competitive business of selling cylinder gases, liquid gases, compressed gases, welding supplies, safety supplies, marine supplies, electric tools, pneumatic tools, hand tools, service, rentals and repairs of welding equipment, safety equipment, fire extinguishers, safety training, marine equipment, fasteners, signs, labels, tags, embroidery, work clothing, industrial supplies, and tools to its customers ("the Employer's Business") in the parishes within Louisiana identified in Exhibit "A" attached hereto. Employee recognizes that from time to time, the Company's business may expand to other parishes within Louisiana and/or other counties or municipalities in other states and Employee agrees that Company may amend Exhibit "A" and append it to this agreement with the same force and effect as the original Exhibit "A." Company will provide Employee with any and all amendments. Employee and the Employer acknowledge and agree that the Company does business in all of the parishes contained in Exhibit "A." Employee agrees that if the Company provides him with an amendment to Exhibit "A" that it will represent as fact that the Company does business in all of the geographical areas identified in such an exhibit unless the Employee provides the Company with written notice disputing that fact within seven days of his receipt of the amendment.
(B) Employee agrees that Employee will not, during the term of his or her employment and for a period of two years from the date of termination of his or her employment, whether as owner, principle, agent, partner, officer, employee, independent contractor, consultant, licensor, franchisee, or otherwise, alone or in association with any other person become employed or otherwise engaged with any other entity that is engaged in the same or similar business as the Employer's Business in any of the parishes identified in paragraph 5.1(A).
(c) Employee agrees that Employee will not, during the term of his or her employment and for a period of two years from the date of the termination of his or her employment, whether as owner, principle, agent, partner, officer, employee, independent contractor, consultant, licensor, franchisee, or otherwise, alone or in association with any other person directly or indirectly, call upon or solicit any customer of the Company or any subsidiary or affiliate of the Company for the purpose of soliciting and/or selling to, or in any way diverting or taking away, any of said customers in ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.