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STEBOK v. AMERICAN GEN. LIFE & ACCIDENT INS. CO.

April 13, 1989

DENNIS J. STEBOK, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN GENERAL LIFE AND ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY, a/k/a AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, a corporation, Defendant


Alan N. Bloch, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: BLOCH

ALAN N. BLOCH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Plaintiff Dennis J. Stebok brought this action against his employer, American General Life and Accident Insurance Company, also known as American General Insurance Company (AGLA), pursuant to the Wage Payment and Collection Law, 43 P.S. § 260.1, et seq. (WPCL), for wages and benefits allegedly due under his employment contract. In addition to the wages and benefits, plaintiff seeks liquidated damages and attorney's fees. AGLA now moves for summary judgment, contending that plaintiff is not entitled to the claimed wages or benefits under the terms of the employment contract, and is therefore not entitled to liquidated damages or attorney's fees provided for under the WPCL. Because the record reveals no genuine issue of material fact, defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.

 I. Background

 The contract incorporated by reference a document entitled "Agent's Compensation Plan" (the plan). The plan was designed to provide a weekly compensation not severely impacted by fluctuations in an agent's sales activities. Under the plan, an agent or field representative is compensated for sales, service and persistency of the business assigned to a geographic location. This location is called an agency. The sales, collection and conservation of business in this agency creates certain calculations added to "pools." An agent's weekly compensation is calculated by a stated percentage from these "pools." In effect, the plan required plaintiff to forfeit his commission in return for a regular weekly paycheck.

 Plaintiff was terminated on or about February 9, 1987. He made claims to AGLA for the balance of the "pools," his remaining vacation benefits, his security deposit, and his Christmas Club savings. AGLA refused, telling him only that certain deficiencies existed in his accounts and were being offset by the money which he was claiming.

 Plaintiff's employment contract contained the following provisions:

 
TERMINATION OF COMPENSATION PAYMENTS. In the event of the field representative's termination of employment with the company of [sic] transfer to employment with the company in a capacity other than as a field representative, or the field representative's death, disability or retirement, the company will have no obligation to pay any compensation provided for in this agreement, or provided for in any compensation plan incorporated herein by reference, after the last week during which the field representative was employed under this agreement. None of the commissions or other compensation payments provided for in this agreement, or in any compensation plan incorporated herein by reference, will be vested. Any commissions or amounts credited to pools under any compensation plan incorporated in this agreement by reference which are unpaid at the time of termination of employment under this agreement will be forfeitted to the company in consideration of the payment to the field representative of initial weekly compensation, the establishment of the initial pools amount, and the training and financing received by the field representative when first employed under this agreement.
 
PAYMENT OF ACCOUNT DEFICIENCIES. In the event an audit reveals a deficiency in the accounts of the field representative with the company during the course of employment under this agreement, or upon termination of such employment, the field representative will immediately pay to the company the amount of said deficiency.
 
OFFSETS. Upon the termination of employment of the field representative, the company may apply any amount due and payable from the company to the field representative under this agreement, and any compensation plan incorporated herein by reference to the payment of any indebtedness owed by the field representative to the company.

 (Affidavit of James H. Crowell, Jr., Exhibit A.)

 On October 1, 1987, plaintiff filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County. Defendant removed the case to this Court and ...


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