Following a thorough discussion of the elements of a valid contract, the Court found a question of material fact whether the parties had agreed on all the material terms of the contract which plaintiff claimed entitled him to a significant bonus. Plaintiff was not required to show that the bonus had actually been paid in prior years in order to recover. The Court dismissed, however, plaintiff’s claim for an additional bonus because it found that the parties had never agreed, during their negotiations over additional compensation, how it would be determined.
The Court further ruled that the individual defendants could be liable to plaintiff under his North Carolina Wage and Hour Act claim, and denied their motion for summary judgment based on the argument that plaintiff had been employed by the corporate defendant. It relied on cases interpreting the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which hold that individuals can be jointly and severally liable with a corporate employer for unpaid wages where they serve as part owners, officers, or directors of the corporation, or where they are involved in the management of the corporation.
The Court also held that plaintiff could proceed on his claims for unjust enrichment and fraud.