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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on May 25, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

John T. Winemiller, R. Bradford Brittian, and Ian G. McFarland, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant, Crescent Sock Company.

Attorneys 2:

Gary R. Patrick, Cara J. Alday, and McKinley S. Lundy, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for appellees, Robert H. Yoe, III, and Yoe Enterprises, Inc.

Judge(s): SUSANO

Crescent Sock Company filed this action against its Chief Executive Officer, Robert H. Yoe, III, the day before Crescent terminated his employment. It sought a declaratory judgment that Yoe’s employment contract and an agreement between Crescent and Yoe Enterprises, Inc., a company wholly owned by Yoe, were invalid and unenforceable. After a seven-day bench trial, the court found the two agreements to be valid. It enforced them and found in favor of Yoe and Yoe Enterprises on some of the causes of action in their counterclaim. The trial court awarded Yoe and Yoe Enterprises attorney’s fees of $765,880.77. Yoe’s employment contract, however, does not include Yoe Enterprises among those entitled to seek ?prevailing party? fees and expenses. Accordingly, we vacate so much of the trial court’s judgment as grants attorney’s fees and litigation costs to Yoe Enterprises. However, we affirm the trial court’s judgment holding that Yoe is entitled to fees and expenses, but vacate the amount of his award. This case is remanded to the trial court for a hearing to determine how much of the $765,880.77 in attorney’s fees is properly associated with the professional services rendered to Yoe Enterprises. The trial court will make the same calculation with respect to the expenses. The trial court is instructed to subtract the fees and expenses applicable to Yoe Enterprises from the total fee award of $765,880.77 and the award of expenses and decree the balance to Yoe. In all other respects, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed. On remand, the trial court is further instructed to award Yoe his reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses on appeal.