Ellis v. Candia Trailers & Snow Equipment, Inc.Annotate this Case
Petitioner David Ellis appealed a superior court order that rescinded a non-compete agreement and ordered partial restitution as a remedy. Respondents Candia Trailers and Snow Equipment, Inc. and its principals Jeffrey and Suzanne Goff, cross-appealed the rescission of the non-compete agreement. Ellis signed an asset purchase agreement (APA), non-compete agreement (NCA) and an inventory purchase agreement (IPA) in relation to the sale of Precision Truck, a business the Goffs owned. The Goffs executed the NCA with regard to Ellis' operation of Precision Truck to remain in effect for seven years. However, the NCA could end sooner if Ellis breached terms of the IPA. One of the terms of the IPA was that Ellis would pay for Precision Truck's inventory by June 1, 2007. Within weeks of signing the NCA, Goff began competing with Precision Truck. Ellis thereafter failed to purchase all of Precision Truck's inventory by June 1, 2007. Ellis subsequently sued for breach of contract and violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The trial court found the NCA, IPA and APA as three separate agreements, each with its own terms and remedies for breach, and that Ellis breached the IPA and Goff breached the NCA. Both parties argued that the trial court abused its discretion when rescinding the NCA and awarding partial restitution to Ellis. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred in determining that the three agreements were severable, and as such, the NCA could not be rescinded without rescinding the IPA and the APA too. Accordingly, the Court reversed the restitution award and remanded to the trial court for a determination of what remedies were available.