Jury Verdict Trumped by Lack of Verified Denial

For 15 years, Steven Anderson was a route driver for Greenville Automatic Gas Co. Anderson quit and went to work for Automatic Propane Gas & Supply, leading Greenville to invoke an employment agreement that it claimed included both a a covenant not to compete and a nonsolicit provision. Anderson and Automatic Propane sued for a declaratory judgment, alleging (after a series of amendments to the pleadings) that Anderson had only signed a shorter contract that contained neither of the terms claimed by Greenville. The jury found that Anderson has not agreed to the terms claimed by Greenville and awarded him approximately $75,000 in attorney fees. The Dallas Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Anderson and Automatic Gas could not dispute the validity of Greenville’s contract because they had failed to timely file a verified pleading denying its validity, as required by TRCP 93. The Court of Appeals also affirmed summary judgment against Greenville on its tort-based counterclaims and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Greenville Automatic Gas Co. v. Automatic Propane Gas & Supply, LLC, No. 05-13-01405-CV

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