A Beaumont man has filed suit against the construction company that he claims reneged on its promise to pay him a portion of its proceeds.
John Noddin claims he was working for defendant Intrepid Offshore Construction where he signed a non-compete clause that prohibited him from competing with the company’s clients or harming its reputation if he stopped working for it.
Noddin lost his job with Intrepid Offshore Construction and began working for defendant Ove Akerblom, who was president of Structural Epoxy Solutions. In exchange for his work, Noddin was promised a 10 percent interest in the company, plus an additional $35,000.
Noddin was given the $35,000 in the form of a loan, but was told the loan would be forgiven and that he would receive his 10 percent interest when the company began to succeed, according to the complaint filed April 22 in Jefferson County District Court.
During Noddin’s work with Structural Epoxy Solutions, he claims he began to notice Akerblom mismanaging the company by failing to pay suppliers, by breaching a contract with his supplier and by refusing to complete a payment to his supplier. In turn, the company was unable to secure large municipal contracts, according to the complaint.
By Jan. 5, all Structural Epoxy Solutions employees were terminated, including Noddin, the suit states.
Noddin has still not received his promised 10 percent shares in the company and is expected to repay the $35,000 loan given to him, the complaint says.
Since his job loss, Noddin has been attempting to utilize his skills as an eproxy applicator to earn a living. Now, however, Intrepid Offshore Construction is threatening to sue Noddin for violating his non-compete clause, according to his complaint.
Noddin claims the non-compete clause is not enforceable because his agreement with Intrepid Offshore Construction was terminated. Akerblom is also attempting to use the non-compete clause against Noddin, which he claims should not be enforceable.
“Plaintiff contends that the covenant is not ancillary to a valid and separately enforceable contract and that the limitations in the covenant are unreasonable as to time, geographic area and scope of activity,” the suit states.
In the alternative, Noddin wants the court to declare the clause valid only in Harris County, which is Intrepid Offshore Construction’s primary place of business.
Noddin also alleges fraudulent inducement against Akerblom, saying he never intended to forgive the note or to allow Noddin to keep a 10 percent interest in the company.
In his complaint, Noddin is seeking actual and exemplary damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorney’s fees and other relief the court deems just.
Christine L. Stetson and Aaron R. Moore of The Bernsen Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing him.
Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. D194-264