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READMOND v. MATSUSHITA ELEC. CORP. OF AMERICA

October 2, 1972

George M. READMOND, Jr.
v.
MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC CORP. OF AMERICA. Paul E. BRUNELL v. MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC CORP. OF AMERICA. James CLANCY v. MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC CORP. OF AMERICA


Hannum, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HANNUM

In the present actions plaintiffs allege that defendant, Matsushita Electric Corp. of America, (Matsushita) breached their oral contracts of employment. Plaintiffs' actions are brought "on the contract" demanding vindication of their expectation interests. Before the Court are defendant's motions for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(b), Fed.R.Civ.P., and defendant's Rule 12(f) motion to strike new matter in each plaintiff's answer to defendant's motion for summary judgment.

 The pertinent facts as set forth in the complaints and answers to interrogatories are as follows:

 George A. Readmond, Jr., (Readmond) was hired under an oral contract as national sales manager on an annual basis for an annual salary of $17,000 and, in further consideration of employment, he was assured that he would be named general manager of the auto products division. He started working on June 1, 1967 and was discharged on September 5, 1969. In response to defendant's interrogatory #1 that he state when and where said contract of employment was entered into he answered, "1(a) Approximately the third week of May 1967, Pan American Building, New York City, New York . . . ." In answer to defendant's interrogatory #1(b) requesting that he state each term and condition of said agreement, plaintiff answered,

 
"(b) Defendant sought plaintiff out through reputation and contacted plaintiff to work for them. Plaintiff requested a salary of $25,000 to start and defendant, through its representatives, stated that they did not wish to start plaintiff off at that salary but would start him off at $17,000 per year and the terms of the employment were on a yearly basis and I was assured that if I took this job that I would be general manager and vice-president of automotive products division . . . also I was to receive an annual bonus . . . ."

 In response to defendant's interrogatory #2(b) to state whether the commitment or assurance that he would be named general manager of the auto products division of defendant's company, as averred in paragraph 8 of the Complaint, was confirmed by letter or other writing, plaintiff answered, "No." In answer to defendant's interrogatory 2(c) requesting that he state the precise terms of said commitment or assurances, plaintiff answered, "(c) See answer to interrogatory 1." In addition to the claim for salary to June 1, 1970 (amounting to $16,080.00) plaintiff claims "an additional $25,000 for failure to be named general manager of auto products division of defendant's company".

 During the period from May 27, 1969 to June 13, 1969, Paul E. Brunell, (Brunell) a citizen of Texas, had discussions concerning employment with defendant's representatives in Dallas, Texas. On July 17, 1969 plaintiff again conferred with defendant's representatives in New York City at which time he was told that he "was hired on an annual basis . . . in the sum of $12,000 per year, plus commissions; . . . that he would be with defendant corporation for a minimum of two years and hopefully for a much longer period of time." Brunell alleges he was assured of a training period of two years. He was employed as southeast regional supervisor based in Dallas, Texas, and he was requested to commence work on Monday, July 21, 1969. On September 12, 1969, defendant sent a letter terminating plaintiff's employment. Damages are claimed "in the sum of $24,000 plus an accounting of commissions which he would have earned". In response to defendant's interrogatory #2, requesting each term and condition of the employment contract, plaintiff answered under oath as follows:

 
"2. (a) The date and place where the employment was entered into took place between May of 1969 and July of 1969 and was entered into in Dallas, Texas and New York.
 
(b) The agreement was both written and oral in that certain papers were signed, such as monthly salary, withholding forms, life insurance policies. I was requested to start work on July 21, 1969.
 
(c) The conditions were that I supervise the distributor activities over an eleven state area and set up new distribution outlets. The terms of payment for these efforts were that I would receive $1,000 a month plus a satisfactory bonus at the end of each year and at the end of two years I would be earning in the area of $16,000 a year."

 In answer to defendant's supplemental interrogatory #15 whether plaintiff received any confirmation in writing from defendant that at the end of two years he would be earning in the area of $16,000 per year, plaintiff answered in pertinent part, "I do not have confirmation in writing that at the end of two years I would be earning $16,000 per year." In answer to defendant's supplemental interrogatory # 16 as to whether plaintiff ever received any written confirmation from defendant assuring a two year training period, plaintiff answered in pertinent part, "I received no written confirmation".

 James Clancy (Clancy) was employed by defendant as western regional sales manager. He commenced working on or about May 1, 1969, and on October 22, 1969 he was notified that the employment was terminated. Damages are claimed "in the sum of $17,250 plus an accounting for commissions and bonus which he would have earned". In response to defendant's interrogatory #1 as to whether plaintiff commenced working for defendant pursuant to a written contract of employment, plaintiff answered, under oath, "No". In response to defendant's interrogatory #2 requesting that he state each and every material term and condition of the employment contract pleaded in paragraph 7 of the Complaint, plaintiff answered, under oath, as follows:

 
"2. . . . We met at the International Hotel in March of 1969 and discussed the position that I was being interviewed for. It was at at this time that we discussed money, title and contract. I told the representative of the defendant that I had just started a new position and would not leave it unless I was guaranteed a minimum of two years and that the other conditions of employment would be met. During the first week of April, 1969 George Readmond called me long distance and advised that I was hired at $11,500 per year and he assured me that I would be with defendant corporation for a minimum period of two years and that I was to meet a Mr. Perlman at the airport with him on their way to Hawaii; this I did and Mr. Perlman confirmed Mr. Readmond's statement. There were other discussions including bonuses and the answer to this interrogatory does not include each and every statement that was made."

 In answer to defendant's interrogatory # 3 to state the date and place where the employment agreement was entered into he stated, "I was reached by telephone in Los Angeles, California by George Readmond. The employment agreement was confirmed at the Los Angeles Airport in California by Mr. Perlman and Mr. Readmond in April of 1969." In answer to interrogatory # 5 as to whether he asked for or received any commission or bonuses during the entire period of employment he answered, "No. I never received a bonus or a commission. Yes, I did ask for same." In answer to defendant's supplemental interrogatory 15(b) to state each and every statement that was made with respect to said bonuses he answered, in pertinent part, as follows:

 
". . . Some of the statements made to me occurred while I was being interviewed for the position of western regional sales manager . . . . in March, 1969 at the International Hotel in Los Angeles, California. I told Mr. Readmond I was not interested in the position unless it was on a basis of a yearly contract for a term of a two year period and that I would receive $11,500 per year to start plus expenses, a bonus of 1% over quotas set by Mr. Readmond . . . . Mr. Readmond told me that if the position was to be mine he would call and agree to the terms I had outlined but that he had other people to interview for the position before he would get back to me with a final determination. About five days later Mr. Readmond called my home and said the position was mine under the aforementioned terms outlined. . . ."

 In answer to defendant's supplemental interrogatory # 16(a) for dates when demand for payment of commissions and bonuses was made, defendant answered, "August, 1969, September, 1969 and October, 1969". In answer to defendant's supplemental interrogatory # 16(b) as to the amounts due in each such request and the basis thereof, the plaintiff answered as follows:

 
"I requested Mr. Anderson to send me all sales reports as I had been doing every time I talked to him or when I was in New York in person. Each time Mr. Anderson stalled me and the last time was in October of 1969 when I requested said reports to determine my bonus. I was let go without any reason on October 22, 1969 at 5:20 p.m. by an employee of defendant company who I had only met once before. At this time I told him that I wanted to get paid the balance of my contract since I was being fired without ...

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