In 2010 and 2011, Wings, which repairs the vinyl, leather, and fabric of car interiors, hired two repair technicians as independent contractors. In January 2013 the two repair technicians were hired as full-time employees and signed non-compete agreements that prevented them from working as competing repair technicians for 24 months after leaving the company. In November and December 2013, the two repair technicians quit working for Wings and were hired by a competitor, Capitol Leather, as repair technicians. Wings, the Plaintiff, sued the two exemployees, arguing they had breached their non-compete contract. The Plaintiff also asked the court for a preliminary injunction to enforce the non-compete agreement while the case was tried.
Wings claimed that the damage being done by the breach of contract was so great that the company might not exist by the time the trial happened, but did not provide any analysis to support the claim. The court denied the preliminary injunction, saying, "[T]he Court does not agree that Wings will be irreparably harmed. This is, in large part, because Wings has not put forth a legitimate argument as to why it does not have an adequate remedy at law in this case."1 If Wings had used an expert to demonstrate the severity of the damages it was claiming, the Court might have agreed to the injunction to help ensure Wings still existed at the time of trial.
Expert witnesses are important because they provide reliable quantitative support for litigants' valid but unproven claims. Hopefully Wings learned that lesson and will use an expert witness to estimate damages from the breaches of contract for the next phase of the trial.
1 Wings, LLC v Capitol Leather, LLC, et al., 2014 Va. Cir. LEXIS 10 at *9 (19 Cir. Ct. Va. March 6, 2014).