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Conlin v. Darrell Haun & Solarcraft, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston

December 12, 2013

KEVIN CONLIN AND KATHRYN CONLIN, Appellants
v.
DARRELL HAUN AND SOLARCRAFT, INC., Appellees

On Appeal from the 434th District Court, Fort Bend County, Texas. Trial Court Cause No. 09-DCV-169352.

For Appellant: Kenneth R. Jones, LAW OFFICE OF KENNETH R. JONES, L.L.P., Houston, TX.

For Appellee: Lawrence Rothenberg, Houston, TX.

Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Bland and Huddle.

OPINION

Rebeca Huddle, Justice

Page 683

Appellants Kevin and Kathryn Conlin bring this interlocutory appeal of the trial court's order denying their Motion to Declare Void or Alternatively, Dissolve Temporary

Page 684

Injunction.[1] We conclude that the temporary injunction should have been dissolved because it does not comply with Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 683, and accordingly, we reverse.

Background

Solarcraft, Inc., a company that designs and manufactures solar power products, was incorporated in March 1994, and initially had two directors and shareholders: Kevin and Kathryn Conlin. In September 2005, Darrell Haun acquired 51% of the shares of Solarcraft. Contemporaneously, the Conlins signed employment agreements with Solarcraft. The employment agreements included a non-compete provision that provided " [f]or 3 years following termination of employment, Employee agrees not to, directly or indirectly, engage in any business which is competitive with the business of Solarcraft in the United States of America."

In February 2009, Haun and Solarcraft, Inc. (collectively, " Haun" ) sued the Conlins, alleging they violated their non-compete agreements. Haun sought to enjoin the Conlins from competing with Solarcraft and from having access to Solarcraft facilities and information. The trial court issued a temporary restraining order as requested by Haun on February 2, 2009.

On February 19, 2009, the trial court heard Haun's application for a temporary injunction. However, before the trial court ruled on the application, the parties informed it that they had reached an agreement regarding temporary injunctive relief. On February 24, 2009, the trial court signed an order titled " Agreed Temporary Injunction," which enjoined the Conlins from competing with Solarcraft in various ways, and enjoined Haun from tampering with Solarcraft records and data, including financial records. The order stated that it was effective " until the trial of this cause, or further order of this Court." It contained a blank in which the trial setting date could be written, but the blank was not filled in.

On July 23, 2009, the Conlins moved to dissolve the temporary injunction. They contended that the injunction should be dissolved because (1) it was void under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 683 because it failed to state the reasons for its issuance and set a date for trial, and (2) Kathryn's three-year covenant not to compete had expired. The parties agree that the trial court ...


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