COA dismisses ex-bank employee’s appeal in noncompete case

The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed a man’s appeal of a preliminary injunction against him in a noncompete dispute with the bank that formerly employed him.

Mathew DuSablon resigned from his job at the Jackson County Bank not long after informing his employer of a rumor that the bank’s broker dealer, INVEST Financial Corporation, was being sold to financial adviser LPL Financial. The bank proceeded to change its broker and just days before the change took place, DuSablon voluntarily terminated his position.

DuSablon then became a registered representative of LPL and created a new business entity, New Legacy Wealth Management, where he offered the same investment and financial services he had performed while working for the bank. He also opened his own offices, and his former secretary at the bank quit her job the day after DuSablon did.

In response, the bank sued DuSablon, alleging he violated the parties’ noncompete clause. It sought a preliminary and permanent injunction, and the Jackson Superior Court denied DuSablon’s motion to dismiss the complaint. It ultimately issued the preliminary injunction and entered an order on sanctions and more than $5,700 in attorney fees for the bank.

DuSablon appealed, challenging the trial court’s denial of his motion to dismiss and entry of injunctive relief for the bank. He also asserted the trial court violated his federal due process rights, rendering all orders against him invalid.

The appellate panel first noted that a preliminary injunction no longer existed in DuSablon’s case, and he therefore had nothing to appeal under Appellate Rule 14(A)(5). Likewise, it found the permanent injunction component of that order did not render it appealable as a matter of right.

“And Appellate Rule 14(A) does not permit appeals as of right from contempt findings in and of themselves,” Judge Edward Najam wrote. “Further, the Permanent Injunction and Contempt Order, which deferred ‘[s]anctions for violation of the preliminary injunction … for further hearing,’ is not an order for the payment of money. Thus, this interlocutory order is not properly before us.”

The appellate panel agreed with DuSablon’s appeal of the October fee order, but noted he did not actually challenge it on appeal. Rather, it found, DuSablon argued only that the entirety of the proceedings before the trial court were so infused with the trial judge’s bias for the Bank that “all orders entered against DuSablon” are invalid as a matter of law.

“In other words, we conclude that, while the October Fees Order provided a basis for appellate jurisdiction under Appellate Rule 14(A)(1), DuSablon does not actually, specifically, or cogently challenge that order, and, thus, there is nothing ‘presented by the order’ for us to review,” the panel wrote.

It therefore dismissed his case in Mathew R. DuSablon v. Jackson County Bank,18A-MI-02259. https://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/09231901ewn.pdf

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