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HOUSTON – A trial court's decision in a suit between transportation logistics company and a trucking company over allegations of breach of contract and trade secrets misappropriation was partially affirmed at the appellate court level.
Justice Laura Higley, on the bench of the 1st District Court of Appeals, issued a 20-page ruling on Nov. 1 affirming in part and reversing in part the Harris County 281st District Court's decision in the lawsuit filed by Central States Logistics Inc., doing business as Diligent Delivery Co., against BOC Trucking LLC and Clarence Meyers III.
In her ruling, Higley reversed the award of damages on the breach of contract claim, stating that "because BOC Trucking cannot determine when the time of the covenant not to compete has ended, it cannot be enforced as written."
Higley affirmed the lower court's disposition of Diligent's tortious interference and trade secrets violation claims. She also rendered a take-nothing judgment against Diligent.
Diligent sued BOC and its president Meyers under allegations of breach of contract, tortious interference with existing contract, and violations of the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
According to the ruling, in February 2013, both companies entered a broker-carrier agreement in which BOC would provide services as a carrier whenever Diligent's clients needed freight transportation. One of Diligent's clients was a company called Ameriforge, whose freight transport was arranged by Diligent for BOC to perform.
"About 10 months after BOC Trucking began transporting Ameriforge’s freight, Meyers formed a sole-proprietor logistics company," the ruling states. "He used the name BOC Logistics as an assumed name for his work. BOC Logistics obtained Ameriforge as a client and used BOC Trucking to transport its freight."
The suit was filed on April 2015, where Diligent "asserted it had presented evidence that BOC Trucking and Meyers obtained Diligent’s pricing information for Ameriforge and used that information for BOC Logistics to undercut Diligent’s pricing," the ruling said.
A jury found BOC liable for breach of contract and Meyers was liable for tortious interference. Meyers moved for directed verdict after trial regarding the liability and damages under the tortious interference claim and sought judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The trial court agreed and Diligent appealed.
1st District Court of Appeals case number 01-16-00693-CV