Associate can’t sue over bonus determined by an ‘intangible accounting device,’ law firm says

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An associate who claimed he lost out on bonuses because of the way they were calculated isn’t entitled to sue, his former law firm says in a motion for summary judgment.

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel says in the motion, filed in Philadelphia last Monday, that its bonuses were discretionary, the Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) and Law360 (sub. req.) report. The motion seeks dismissal of claims for alleged fraudulent conversion and misappropriation.

The former associate, Ryan Leonard, was never promised any bonuses in his employment contract, the law firm says. And he can’t sue over the firm’s “internal and intangible accounting device” used to determine bonuses, the firm contends.

Leonard’s suit had claimed Obermayer Rebmann lowered internal credit for the hourly rate charged to clients for his work, causing him to lose out on bonuses tied to profitability. In one case, his suit had alleged, the client was billed $170 an hour for all attorney work, but associate work was credited internally at $88 an hour.

A Philadelphia judge tossed several other claims in Leonard’s suit in February, the Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) previously reported. The tossed claims were for breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent inducement.




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