635 A.2d 1285 (D.C. 1993), 91-CV-1110, Dyer v. William S. Bergman & Associates, Inc.

Docket Nº:91-CV-1110, 92-CV-80 and 92-CV-131.
Citation:635 A.2d 1285
Party Name:William R. DYER, Appellant, v. WILLIAM S. BERGMAN & ASSOCIATES, INC., Appellee. WILLIAM S. BERGMAN & ASSOCIATES, INC., Appellant, v. William R. DYER, Appellee.
Case Date:July 15, 1993
Court:Court of Appeals of Columbia District
 
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Page 1285

635 A.2d 1285 (D.C. 1993)

William R. DYER, Appellant,

v.

WILLIAM S. BERGMAN & ASSOCIATES, INC., Appellee.

WILLIAM S. BERGMAN & ASSOCIATES, INC., Appellant,

v.

William R. DYER, Appellee.

Nos. 91-CV-1110, 92-CV-80 and 92-CV-131.

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

July 15, 1993

Argued June 17, 1993.

Opinion Filed Aug. 30, 1993.

Jonathan A. Constine, with whom Clifford D. Stromberg, Washington, DC, was on the brief, for appellant/cross-appellee William R. Dyer.

Douglas E. Fierberg, Washington, DC, for appellee/cross-appellant William S. Bergman & Associates, Inc.

Before ROGERS, Chief Judge, and TERRY and STEADMAN, Associate Judges.

TERRY, Associate Judge:

Two of these three consolidated appeals (Nos. 91-CV-1110 and 92-CV-131) are taken from a judgment against appellant Dyer for breach of contract and tortious interference with contractual relations; each party contests various aspects of that judgment. The third appeal (No. 92-CV-80) is taken from an order awarding attorney's fees to appellee William S. Bergman & Associates, Inc. All three appeals were noted while a "Motion to Reconsider and Vacate Order Granting Remittitur" was pending before the trial court. At oral argument on June 17, 1993, we were informed by counsel that on June 9, eight days earlier, the trial court had entered an order granting this motion in part, thereby modifying its earlier judgment. We received a copy of that June 9 order shortly thereafter. In light of this development, we concluded that we lacked jurisdiction to entertain

Page 1286

the instant appeals, and accordingly we entered an order on July 15 dismissing all three. This opinion will explain the reasons behind our order of dismissal.

I

This suit was filed by William S. Bergman & Associates, Inc. (Bergman), a management services company, against William Dyer, one of its former employees. Dyer's contract with Bergman contained a non-competition clause preventing him from soliciting business from, or working for, any past or present Bergman client for a period of one year following the termination of his employment at Bergman. In October 1989 Dyer was fired by Bergman, and almost immediately he formed his own management services company. Soon thereafter one of Bergman's largest clients, the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA), breached its management contract with Bergman by terminating the contract in October 1989, instead of waiting until the end of the contract term in January 1990. NSSTA then hired Dyer's newly formed company to provide the management services formerly provided by Bergman.

Bergman promptly filed this suit against Dyer, seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Dyer from working for NSSTA. Bergman also asserted claims against Dyer for breach of the non-competition clause of his employment contract and for tortious interference with its contractual relationship with NSSTA. The latter two claims were tried before a jury, which returned a verdict for Bergman on both claims. [1] The jury found that Dyer had breached his employment contract by agreeing to work for NSSTA, but awarded Bergman no compensatory damages on this claim. The jury did, however, award $20,625 in compensatory damages and $82,500 in punitive damages on Bergman's claim for tortious interference with contractual relations. A judgment in the amount of the total damages awarded, plus interest from the date of the verdict, was entered on the docket on June 27, 1991.

The next day, June 28, Dyer moved for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, a new trial, or a remittitur. On August 23 the court denied Dyer's motion; however, the court ordered a credit against the judgment for "all sums...

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