Interveners in coin seller suit claim signing arbitration clause under duress

David Yates Apr. 4, 2016, 3:31pm


A handful of interveners in an ongoing dispute between a coin seller and its former employee recently filed a motion to stay arbitration, arguing they were coerced into signing an agreement while under “duress.”

As previously reported, International Precious Metals filed a lawsuit Sept. 15, 2014 in Jefferson County District Court against Montgomery Chandler and Michael Brown.

In its complaint, IPM alleges Brown had been working for the company as a salesman. In agreeing to work for the company, Brown had agreed to refrain from selling items to its customers if he quit the job.

However, after Brown quit IPM on July 28, 2014 he began working for defendant Montgomery Chandler and contacted an International customer in an attempt to sell coins to them.

Individuals Brandy Johnson, Eslen Cloudy, Stacy Fowler and Deborah Yates filed petitions of intervention in January, contending that the circumstances surrounding them signing any alleged employment agreement with IPM were unconscionable and the company took advantage of their of their economic necessity to coerce them into signing documents.

“Any documents containing an arbitration commitment signed by them were signed as a result of duress, undue influence, and are invalid,” the motion to stay arbitration states, filed March 21.

In its suit, IPM alleges breach of contract against Brown and says he violated the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

The company seeks actual damages, plus permanent injunctive relief that would prevent Brown from contacting its customers in an attempt to sell items.

Attorney Chris M. Portner, of Portner and Bond in Beaumont, represent it.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A196-113

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