EMPLOYMENT — EXECUTIVES & HIGHLY COMPENSATED EMPLOYEES


An employment contract dispute can be a high-stakes affair for both the employee and the company. A highly compensated executive may have devoted a significant part of his professional life to helping build up a business, resulting in substantial contract expectations. At the same time, the company is charged with enhancing shareholder value and stewarding corporate resources in the face of a substantial claim. The result may be a hard-fought lawsuit that requires thoughtful and aggressive pursuit of contract rights. Briol & Benson has successfully pursued, and defended against, multimillion-dollar employment contract claims in many jurisdictions and in both the judicial and the arbitration forum.



BREACH OF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT CLAIMS

When you are involved in a dispute as to whether a party has breached an employment agreement, we will help you determine your rights and develop a strategy to enforce them. Executive employment agreements frequently involve complex compensation, termination, non-compete, and non-solicitation provisions. We are experienced in ascertaining and maximizing your legal position under such many-sided agreements.

Claims involved may include breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, misappropriation of trade secrets, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, ERISA violations, intentional interference with contract or with prospective business advantage, and breach of state and federal labor, wage, or corporate governance statutes.

Representative Cases

We successfully defended an executive and his team from a $50 million claim that he injured his former employer’s future business prospects by recruiting other executives after his non-solicitation clause expired.


We successfully defended an employer against a $20 million claim for stock options that had expired (and for severance payments) following the resignation of the executive, allegedly under improper pressure from the board of directors.


We successfully defended an employer from a $6 million claim for stock options following the resignation of the executive at the recommendation of industry regulators.


We successfully defended a company and its owners from a suit by a terminated co-owner claiming the right to a buy-out payment.



ASSESSMENT OF OBLIGATIONS UNDER EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS

The first step in any employment contract dispute is to understand the parties’ intentions in making the agreement and how the agreement applies to the unique facts of your case. Negotiation and, if necessary, litigation must be commenced before the parties have obtained discovery of each other’s positions and evidence. Our practical experience in this area helps us help you determine your rights in what is often a fraught situation for both parties. Often the parties have worked together for many years and built up a company together. We will bring objectivity to the table and help you develop a strategy for resolving the dispute in your favor.



DEFENSE ENFORCEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT RIGHTS

With their complex compensation and termination provisions, executive employment agreements often lend themselves to sharp disputes, which are only fueled by the magnitude of the compensation involved, whether cash, future payment obligations, stock options, severance, deferred compensation, and other contractual obligations.

Claims in an employment contract dispute may include breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, defamation, misappropriation of trade secrets, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, ERISA violations, intentional interference with contract or with prospective business advantage, and breach of labor, wage, or corporate governance statutes.

Representative Cases

We successfully defended an executive and his team from a $50 million claim that he injured his former employer’s future business prospects by recruiting other executives after his non-solicitation clause expired.


We successfully defended an employer against a $20 million claim for stock options that had expired (and for severance payments) following the resignation of the executive, allegedly under improper pressure from the board of directors.


We successfully defended an employer from a $6 million claim for stock options following the resignation of the executive at the recommendation of industry regulators.


We successfully defended a company and its owners from a suit by a terminated co-owner claiming the right to a buy-out payment.