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PERRY v. VANTEON CORP.

January 22, 2002

KEITH C. PERRY, PLAINTIFF,
V.
VANTEON CORP., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David G. Larimer, Chief United States District Judge.

DECISION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Keith C. Perry, commenced this action on April 25, 2001, alleging various causes of action under New York law arising out of certain events relating to his termination from employment by defendant Vanteon Corp. ("Vanteon" or "defendant"). Jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Plaintiff filed an amended complaint as of right on May 15, 2001, adding several additional causes of action under New York law, all relating to the same facts concerning his employment with and termination from Vanteon. Vanteon has moved to dismiss the amended complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion is denied.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The complaint alleges the following facts, which must be accepted as true for purposes of defendant's motion to dismiss, see Easton v. Sundram, 947 F.2d 1011, 1014-15 (2d Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 911 (1992).

Plaintiff, a California resident, was hired by Vanteon, a New York corporation with its principal place of business in Pittsford, New York, on November 1, 1999, as Senior Vice President, Line of Businesses, Sales and Marketing. Plaintiff was hired pursuant to a letter agreement (Athe Letter Agreement") from Vanteon, dated October 19, 1999.

The Letter Agreement provided that the parties would set a mutually agreed-upon performance target for the first sixty days of plaintiff's employment, which, if achieved, would entitle plaintiff to a bonus of $23,333. The agreement also indicated that Vanteon would set performance targets for the first and second halves of 2000. If plaintiff achieved the targets for 2000, he would earn a $170,000 bonus, for a total of $193,333 through the end of 2000. Letter Agreement, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Ex. B, at 1.*fn1

Plaintiff alleges that although he requested Vanteon to set performance targets for him, defendant failed to do so. Plaintiff alleges that during his first sixty days at Vanteon, he achieved sales, revenues and earnings that would have met any reasonable performance target, but Vanteon neither set any targets nor paid plaintiff any bonuses in accordance with the Letter Agreement.

The Management Agreement also provided that if plaintiff were terminated without cause, he would receive severance pay of up to six months' salary, and outplacement services up to $30,000. MA ¶ 9(d)(ii). The complaint states that A[t]he Management Agreement also intended [sic] to include continuation of life insurance, health insurance, and disability insurance," Amended Complaint & 30, and Aalso provided for the payment of attorneys fees incurred by either party in order to remedy a breach by the other." Amended Complaint & 31.

Plaintiff was terminated by Vanteon on September 29, 2000, allegedly without cause. Vanteon, however, asserting that the termination was for cause, refused to pay plaintiff any salary, outplacement services, or insurance benefits beyond the date of plaintiff's termination.

Based on these allegations, plaintiff has asserted twelve causes of action against Vanteon. The first ten causes of action are all based on Vanteon's alleged breaches of the Letter Agreement and the Management Agreement, based on defendant's failure to set performance targets for plaintiff and to pay him bonuses and severance benefits. These claims are premised on various legal theories ranging from breach of contract to unjust enrichment. The individual claims will be addressed in detail below.

Plaintiff also alleges in the eleventh cause of action that defendant orally promised him a $10,000 signing bonus, of which only $5000 was ever paid. The twelfth cause of action asserts a claim under N.Y. Labor Law § 198, which provides for liquidated damages equal to twenty-five percent of the total wages found to be due to a prevailing plaintiff in an action instituted upon a wage claim.

For relief, plaintiff requests a total award of $175,000 in damages, plus interest, liquidated damages in an amount equal to twenty-five percent of the compensatory ...


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