Bray v. Squires

In Bray v. Squires, 702 S.W.2d 266 (Tex. App.--Houston 1st Dist. 1985, no writ), three associates made plans to form their own firm while still employed by Bray & Associates. They had discussions with one of Bray's largest clients before their departure. That client subsequently moved its business to the associates' new firm. When Bray then sued his former employees, the jury failed to find a breach of fiduciary duty. In affirming the trial court's rendition of judgment based on that finding, the court of appeals correctly acknowledged that the associates could not compete with their employer while he still employed them. Id. at 270. But the court held that there was evidence from which the jury could have concluded that the associates did not improperly solicit Bray's client. There was evidence that the client was not asked to and did not agree that it would move its business while the associates were still at the Bray firm but only expressed an interest in pursuing a relationship if certain contingencies unrelated to the associates' formation of their own firm occurred. The Bray decision was consistent with decisions in other jurisdictions which have held that an employee does not owe an absolute duty of loyalty to his or her employer.