Former Minnich employees fire back at company's lawsuit

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 13, 2013, 3:12pm

GALVESTON - Two out-of-state men named in a recent lawsuit alleging they are out to ruin their former employer's business denied the allegations.

Minnich Enterprises LLC initiated legal action against Joseph Fairley, of Purvis, Miss., and Donald Toothman, of Springfield, Tenn., in May, asserting they have made and are making false and misleading statements to its customers, funding and bonding sources, and insurers.

According to the company's original petition, the defendants also purportedly secreted or destroyed company property such as 44 hydraulic jacks worth more than $10,000; computer software worth in excess of $2,500; and project data the value of which “cannot be easily determined.”

The suit further shows that the acts violated the restrictive convenants it signed with the respondents and constituted tortious interference with business relations and “are done in bad faith.”

Fairley and Toothman fired back at the litigation with a formal response and counterclaim filed June 3 before the Galveston County 56th District Court.

They insist the contract Minnich supposedly had with them lacks merit because it is no enforceable.

"The subject agreement's convenants limitations in issue are not reasonable as to time, geographic area and scope of activity to be restrained and impose a greater restraint than is necessary to protect the plaintiff's business interests," the five-page document says.

"The defendants learned no skills and acquired no specialized knowledge during their brief employment with Minnich."

It additionally that argues Minnich's apparent firing of the respondents constitutes a breach of contract.

Attorney Kenneth D. McConnico of Houston is representing the defendants.

Case No. 13-CV-688

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