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RALLI v. TAVERN

July 7, 1983

HUGO RALLI, Plaintiff,
v.
TAVERN ON THE GREEN and WARNER LE ROY, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LASKER

LASKER, D.J.

 This is an action seeking damages for an alleged breach of an employment contract. Hugo Ralli (Ralli) moves for an order pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56 granting summary judgment in his favor. Tavern on the Green (TOG) and Warner LeRoy (LeRoy) move for leave to assert a counterclaim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 13(f).

 The following facts are undisputed. During the spring of 1977, Ralli was hired by managing partner LeRoy to be the general manager of the TOG. A letter purporting to outline the agreement between the parties, dated June 13, 1977 and signed by LeRoy stated in part:

 
"This is to confirm our understanding that you will begin work at Tavern on the Green on July 18, 1977. The basic terms of your employment are as follows:
 
1. Although no guarantee is made for the length of your employment, we do agree, providing you meet the minimum requirements of the job such as showing up sober and making an effort, that in the event it is necessary to dismiss you, you would receive 4 months severance salary. (This is the basic salary and does not include bonus payments).
 
2. You will be paid
 
a. a salary of $37,000 per year, payable weekly.
 
b. an expense account of $3,000 for properly submitted bills (if you do not have expenses, this money will be paid to you as additional salary)
 
c. During your employment, the $40,000 referred to above, will be against (not in addition to) 8.5% of the profit of Tavern on the Green, with a total limit of $75,000 per year."

 A further letter dated June 15, 1977, from LeRoy to Ralli, stated:

 
"This is to further [sic] modify the memo of June 14, 1977:
 
1. In addition to the 4 months salary you will receive in case things do not work out, we will also continue our health insurance for 4 months."

 On July 18, 1977, Ralli commenced his duties as general manager of TOG. Each October during Ralli's employment, he met with LeRoy to negotiate a new compensation package. Each compensation package exceeded the $75,000 limit set forth in the June 13th letter. There were no discussions regarding severance pay at the October meetings.

 In November of 1981, Ralli was discharged from TOG. At the time of Ralli's termination, his salary had increased to $41,840 and his expense account to $9,640. In addition, he was paid $97,502 in profit sharing for the period ...


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