Spinks v. Riebold, 5239

Decision Date19 February 1958
Docket NumberNo. 5239,5239
Citation310 S.W.2d 668
CourtTexas Court of Appeals
PartiesLeroy SPINKS, d/b/a Spinks Tool & Supply Company, Appellant, v. J. A. RIEBOLD, Appellee.

Thomas L. White, Monahans, for appellant.

John P. Dennison, Pecos, Alton C. Linne, Monahans. for appellee.

HAMILTON, Chief Justice.

Appellant, Leroy Spinks, doing business as Spinks Tool & Supply Company, sought an injunction to restrain appellee, J. A. Riebold, from engaging in the competitive business of that of appellant, on the ground that appellee had breached his employment contract. The case was tried to the court without a jury, and the relief sought by appellant was denied.

In September 1953, appellant and appellee entered into a contract of employment whereby appellant agreed to employ appellee as a salesman, selling merchandise equipment, and supplies handled by appellant in his business and, as a part of the consideration for said contract of employment, appellee agreed that he would not, after termination of his employment, directly or indirectly, engage in the same or similar business within the states of New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, for a period of five years after such termination of his employment. On or about the 29th day of September 1956, appellee terminated his employment with appellant voluntarily, and immediately began to engage in a business similar to that of appellant, in the same territory in the states of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma in which appellee had worked for appellant.

The trial court, in its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, found that the plaintiff was suffering damages as the result of the competitive business carried on by appellee, and that such damages were and would be very difficult to ascertain. The trial court further found that the appellant's business was principally confined to seismographing and core bit drilling portion of the petroleum industry, which was a highly specialized segment of said industry; that the potential customers in this segment of said industry were exceedingly limited, and that the continuity of appellant's business was dependent upon appellant's and his employees' personal contact with the customers and potential customers, and that the appellant had complied with the terms of the contract in every respect.

The trial court held that the restrictive covenant in the contract, which would prohibit appellee from entering a competitive business within the states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico within five years from termination of employment by appellant, was unreasonable, both as to time and extent of territory covered, and could not be enforced because the contract was void.

Because of the opinion of our Supreme Court, in the case of Lewis v. Krueger, Hutchinson and Overton Clinic, 153 Tex. 363, 269 S.W.2d 798, 800, we cannot agree that the trial court was correct in the conclusion reached. It is our opinion that contracts of employment containing restrictive covenants, such as we have before us, will not be declared void because said covernants are unreasonable as to time, or as to the extent of territory covered, or unreasonable as to both time and territory. The Court specifically said, in that case, that it was not making a new and...

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33 cases
  • Chenault v. Otis Engineering Corp., 380
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • December 28, 1967
    ...and Overton Clinic, 153 Tex. 363, 269 S.W.2d 798; Weatherford Oil Tool Co. v. Campbell, 161 Tex. 310, 340 S.W.2d 950; Spinks v. Riehold, Tex.Civ.App., 310 S.W.2d 668, wr.ref.; Eubanks v. Puritan Chemical Company, Tex.Civ.App., 353 S.W.2d 90, 92, wr.ref. n.r.e.; Vaughan v. Kizer, Tex.Civ.App......
  • Hill v. Mobile Auto Trim, Inc.
    • United States
    • Texas Supreme Court
    • January 28, 1987
    ...Security, Inc., 618 S.W.2d 327, 329 (Tex.1981); Justin Belt Co., Inc. v. Yost, 502 S.W.2d at 684; Spinks v. Riebold, 310 S.W.2d 668, 669 (Tex.Civ.App.--El Paso 1958, writ ref'd). But, there has never been a presumption that so long as the restriction does not encumber the former franchisee'......
  • Eubanks v. Puritan Chemical Co.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • January 4, 1962
    ...necessary to rewrite the contract, but merely to apply an unambiguous provision of the contract. 13 Tex.Jur.2d Sec. 213; Spinks v. Riebold, Tex.Civ.App., 310 S.W.2d 668, writ The trial court also enjoined Kemco Chemical Company, Inc. This corporation was not a party to the contract. However......
  • Credit Bureau Management Company v. Huie
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Arkansas
    • May 31, 1966
    ...269 S.W.2d 798; Traweek v. Shields, Tex.Civ.App., 380 S.W.2d 131; Bramlett & Co. v. Hunt, Tex.Civ.App., 371 S.W.2d 787; Spinks v. Riebold, Tex.Civ.App., 310 S.W.2d 668, wr. However, in two significant respects the relevant law of Texas seems to be more favorable to employers than is the law......
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