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.

Turbine Powered Technology, LLC v. Crowe

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 5, 2019

TURBINE POWERED TECHNOLOGY, LLC
v.
DAVID CROWE, KENNETH BRACCIO, DANIEL FOLEY, GEORGE JACKSON, KENT ELLSWORTH, ARIZONA TURBINE TECHNOLOGY, INC., ADVANCED TURBINE SERVICES, LLC AND TURBINE INTEGRATED POWER SYSTEMS, LLC and TURBINE POWERED TECHNOLOGY, LLC
v.
DAVID CROWE, KENNETH BRACCIO, DANIEL FOLEY, GEORGE JACKSON, KENT ELLSWORTH, ARIZONA TURBINE TECHNOLOGY, INC., ADVANCED TURBINE SERVICES, LLC AND TURBINE INTEGRATED POWER SYSTEMS, LLC

          Appealed from the Sixteenth Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of St. Mary State of Louisiana Suit Number 130, 379 Honorable Gregory P. Aucoin, Presiding

          D.C. Panagiotis Lafayette, LA Holden Hoggatt Franklin, LA Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee Turbine Powered Technology, LLC

          Adam G. Young Lafayette, LA John Alden Meade New Orleans, LA S. Patrick Skiles Morgan City, LA Thomas T. Townsend Natchitoches, LA Counsel for Defendants/ Appellants David Crowe, Kenneth Braccio, Arizona Turbine Technology, LLC and Advanced Turbine Services, LLC

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          GUIDRY, J.

         Defendants/appellants, David Crowe, Arizona Turbine Technology, Inc., Kenneth Braccio, and Advanced Turbine Services, LLC, appeal from a judgment of the trial court dismissing their motion to dissolve a preliminary injunction granted in favor of plaintiff, Turbine Powered Technology, LLC. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Ted Lee Mclntyre, II invented a turbine-powered equipment package for hydraulic fracturing, trademarked as the "Frac Stack Pack," which uses helicopter engines to power frac pumps. Mclntyre founded and developed several companies involving turbine-powered technology to use in the oil and gas industry. Mclntyre granted one of these companies, MTT Properties, LLC (MTTP), the exclusive right to make, have made, use, offer for sale, and sell the Frac Stack Pack.

         Additionally, to capitalize on the value of the Frac Stack Pack and turbine-powered frac technology, Mclntyre created Green Field Energy Services, Inc., (Green Field) as a fracking operations company. MTTP and Green Field subsequently formed and became members of Turbine Powered Technology, LLC (TPT) to manufacture the Frac Stack Packs. MTTP assigned the Frac Stack Pack intellectual property to TPT.

         On September 22, 2011, TPT and Green Field entered into a Turbine Driven Equipment License Agreement, under which TPT granted Green Field an exclusive license to the Frac Stack Pack trademark and an exclusive license to the Frac Stack Pack technology. Pursuant to this agreement, Green Field received the exclusive right to use, sell, lease, and commercialize the Frac Stack Pack equipment purchased from TPT under the agreement. However, TPT did not transfer ownership of the frac intellectual property. During that time, Danny Foley and George Jackson were employees of Green Field.

         TPT subsequently executed a vendor agreement with Advanced Turbine Services, LLC (ATS) on October 4, 2011, to provide additional turbine-powered frac equipment to Green Field. Pursuant to the vendor agreement, ATS agreed to provide TPT with TF40 and TF55 turbine engines and digital engine controls (FADEC and/or IDEC)[1] to be used in the frac equipment. ATS procured the digital engine controls hardware from its subcontractor, Tucson Embedded Systems, Inc. (TES), and resold the hardware to TPT. At the time, Kenneth Braccio owned and managed ATS and David Crowe was the President, Director, and majority shareholder of TES. TES subsequently shipped engine controls directly to TPT. TES executed a mutual non-disclosure agreement with Green Field, effective June 16, 2013. Green Field filed for bankruptcy in October 2013, and the bankruptcy proceedings terminated its exclusive license to TPT's intellectual property in the Frac Stack Pack and derivative technology.

         On December 17, 2012, Braccio became an employee of TPT and executed a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement. Crowe subsequently created Arizona Turbine Technology, LLC, for which Kent Ellsworth was the agent for service of process, and Arizona Turbine Technology, Inc. (AZT) to produce and sell turbine-powered frac equipment. Crowe and Braccio subsequently co-founded Turbine Industrial Power Systems (TIPS). (R. 154) Thereafter, in July 2016, Crowe sold his equity in TES back to the corporation. As part of this agreement, Crowe released all interest in properties and contracts of TES, except Eco-Stim Energy Solutions, Inc., and TES released all claims of ownership or other interest in or relating to AZTTech.[2]

         On November 7, 2016, TPT filed a petition for damages and injunctive relief, naming as defendants Crowe, Braccio, Foley, Jackson, Ellsworth, Arizona Turbine Technology, LLC, AZT, ATS, and TIPS. TPT alleged that defendants have usurped and now claim ownership and legal rights in and to TPT's intellectual property, trade secrets, and derivative products. TPT asserted that defendants have no legitimate legal right in or to TPT's intellectual property or derivative intellectual property, including modifications of turbine engine controls for hydraulic fracturing equipment. TPT alleged that defendants publicly and repeatedly represented themselves to be the owners of TPT's proprietary technology and that AZT publicly placed photos and descriptions of TPT's equipment and accomplishments on its website, which is designed to mislead prospective purchasers into contracting with AZT instead of TPT. TPT alleged that as manager of AZT, Crowe has individually, personally, and unlawfully misappropriated TPT's intellectual property, namely digital engine control modifications developed pursuant to and during the term of the vendor agreement between TPT and ATS.

         TPT asserted that defendants AZT, Crowe, and Braccio publicly and falsely represented that they and their affiliates own the frac technology developed by and on behalf of TPT and that the misrepresentations have damaged TPT's past, current, and future business contracts and prospects. TPT alleged that Foley, Jackson, Ellsworth, ATS, TIPS, and Braccio participated in and aided and abetted AZT and Crowe's attempted and actual misappropriation.

         TPT asserted claims for declaratory relief; breach of contract for breach of the vendor agreement; bad faith breach of contract; intentional and/or negligent misrepresentation, detrimental reliance; fraud and fraud in the inducement; violation of Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, La. R.S. 51:1401, et seq.; Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, La. R.S. 51:1431-1439; criminal liability for business record theft; tortious interference with business relationships; unjust enrichment; breach of fiduciary duty; and injunctive relief in the form of a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction.

         TPT also filed an application for a temporary restraining order and for preliminary injunction. TPT asserted that notice would be futile and that security was dispensed with by operation of law, because the vendor agreement and nondisclosure agreement do not include or require applicant to post security and the contracts constitute the law between the parties. The trial court subsequently signed an order granting the temporary restraining order on November 14, 2016. TPT requested service on all named defendants, and a hearing on plaintiffs request for preliminary injunction was set for January 3, 2017. At the January 3, 2017 hearing, following submission of evidence by TPT, the trial court granted TPT's request for a preliminary injunction. Additionally, due to the failure of any of the defendants to make an appearance, TPT moved for a preliminary default against the defendants who had been served.[3] The trial court signed an order granting a preliminary injunction on January 5, 2017, against Ellsworth, Braccio, Arizona Turbine Technology, LLC, AZT, ATS, and TIPS.[4] The trial court also entered a preliminary default against the same defendants and set a hearing to confirm the default judgment for March 6, 2017.

         Crowe, Braccio, Arizona Turbine Technology, LLC, AZT, and ATS thereafter filed exceptions to plaintiffs petition. However, Ellsworth did not make an appearance on the record. Therefore, following the March 6, 2017 hearing to confirm default judgment, the trial court signed a judgment ordering that a ...


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.