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Martha Stewart Living Wins New York Breach of Contract Case


Posted on Jan 01, 2016

A breach of contract lawsuit brought by the former general counsel of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was dismissed on September 17, 2012, by a New York federal judge. In the suit, Gregory Barton alleged that the company owed him more than $700,000 as part of his severance package. He filed the lawsuit in February 2012.

Barton began working for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in October 2007. His employment was terminated the following October. Under the terms of his employment contract, he was to receive a base salary of $400,000 for a year and two bonus payments in the event of his termination without cause. One of the two bonus payments was supposed to equal as much as the full amount of his target annual bonus, defined as 70 percent of his base salary. The other bonus payment was supposed to be a pro-rata payment based on the number of days he had worked during the year. According to his complaint, Barton alleged that amount should be $168,000.

Following his termination, the company informed Barton that he would receive the base salary and 15 percent of each of the two bonuses. Consequently, Barton filed a lawsuit asserting that he was owed the total bonus payments listed in the employment contract. He also requested statutory damages, and alleged additional claims under ERISA, New York breach of contract, New York breach of good faith, and New York labor law violations. 

Unfortunately for Burton, the judge overseeing the lawsuit held that the claims were subject to a one-year statute of limitations imposed by the law in Delaware, and therefore dismissed the lawsuit. Burton had alleged that the statute of limitation imposed by the law in New York should apply instead, which allows six years for filing a lawsuit.

To learn more about breach of contract claims, contact a New York breach of contract lawyer today at (888) 497-3410.

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