Former pilot says company improperly used his proprietary safety program

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 8, 2012, 1:29am

GALVESTON - Friendswood resident Patrick Browne is suing Indelta Learning Systems in response to its alleged actions after he severed his employment with the company.

A lawsuit filed May 3 in Galveston County District Court explains that Browne, a former pilot, had an unsuccessful stint as one of the defendant's executives and was subjected to fraud after his resignation.

According to recent court documents, Indelta hired the plaintiff in July 2005 after attending one of his presentations on flight deck safety.

The suit states the parties executed an enforceable written contract which mandated Browne to use his proprietary materials to make presentations and solicit business for the respondent in exchange for an annual salary of $125,000 plus $8,000 per year in benefits, coverage of reasonable expenses and 15 days combined sick leave and vacation.

Browne claims he fully performed his obligations under the contract, however, Indelta did not uphold its end.

The plaintiff says his former employer committed the breach "by unilaterally modifying its terms, cutting off the agreed-to limits, reporting his income as 'non-employee compensation' by filing a Form 1099, failing to pay his expenses, and, eventually, failing to pay for his services at all despite repeated representations that his salary, benefits and out of pocket expenses would be paid."

He then terminated his employment with the respondent and formed a new entity for the purpose of continuing to make his safety presentations.

The suit states Indelta "began a course of conduct by which it claimed ownership of his safety course materials, threatened prosecution for the alleged theft of the computer equipment, threatened civil and criminal action for theft of trade secrets and for allegedly and fraudulently making claims for expense reimbursement."

Browne adds the defendant continued to use his name, materials and image in its advertising and had other speakers present his program in competition with him as well as coerced his clients into cutting ties.

Consequently, the complainant seeks at least $30,000 in damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Lee McMillan of South Houston is representing Browne, and Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

Case No. 12-cv-1163

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