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Salas v. Total Air Services, LLC

550 S.W.3d 683 (2018)

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Salas v. Total Air Services, LLC

Texas Court of Appeals

550 S.W.3d 683 (2018)

Facts

Heriberto Salas (defendant) worked as a crew supervisor for Total Air Services, LLC (Total) (plaintiff), an HVAC company. Salas, as crew supervisor, was the highest-paid employee for Total and was privy to information that only the owners had access to. Salas also assisted in matters related to permits, inspections, presenting quotes, and troubleshooting. While employed by Total, Salas opened and operated a competing HVAC company, Iceland Refrigeration (Iceland). Iceland bid on and won contracts for several jobs that Total had bid on. Iceland also made bids for jobs that Total had no connection to. In addition, Salas’s bank records showed a number of cash deposits that appeared to be for Iceland’s HVAC services. Total eventually discovered that Salas was operating a competing business while still a salaried employee and sued Salas for breach of fiduciary duty. A jury found in favor of Total and awarded $50,000 in damages for lost profits. The damages awarded by the jury were based on bids won by Iceland for jobs that Total had also bid on, bids won by Iceland that Total had no connection to, and suspected payments for HVAC services derived from Salas’s bank records. Salas appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McClure, C.J.)

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