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Oct 5, 2004 | Our News

Breach of Contract, Failure to Pay Bonus

Top AMEX Official Awarded Over
$200,000 In Breach of Contract Case

NEW YORK, NY — A Manhattan federal jury has awarded more than $200,000 in damages to a former American Stock Exchange officer whose deferred 2001 and guaranteed 2002 bonuses were not paid after he left the Exchange’s employ in October 2002.¬†Chase v. The American Stock Exchange LLC, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Action No. 03 CV 1304 (LSS) (verdict 10/5/04).

Richard Chase, an attorney who was the AMEX’s Executive Vice President for Member Firm Regulation was offered employment in January 2001 under a written contract of employment which provided that he would receive minimum guaranteed base and bonus compensation for each of 2001 and 2002. Notwithstanding the language of the agreement, after Mr. Chase left its employ in October 2002, the AMEX refused to pay Mr. Chase any of his bonus compensation, claiming that under its policies it reserved the right not to pay any bonus compensation if an employee was not on the AMEX payroll on the date the bonus was paid.

At trial, Mr. Chase testified that at no time did anyone from the AMEX advise him of this policy, and that the policy was not contained in any of the AMEX employee handbooks or employment manuals he was given after he started working. The evidence also showed that the earliest Mr. Chase could have been made aware of the policy was in May 2002, when the AMEX forwarded a bonus statement that contained a reference to the policy, which was over a year after the parties’ employment agreement was reached and after the 2001 bonus had already been paid. The AMEX’s General Counsel, Michael Ryan, could not testify that Mr. Chase was provided with any notice of the policy.

The jury awarded Mr. Chase his entire deferred 2001 bonus, as well as a pro-rata share of his guaranteed bonus through October 2002.

Daniel J. Kaiser and Henry L. Saurborn, Jr. of Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C. in New York City represented Mr. Chase.

Peter A. Walker and Lori Meyers of the New York City office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP represented the American Stock Exchange.

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