Tyler E. Chapman is quoted in a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article on a court ruling reinstating a $1 million jury verdict for an environmental services company executive based on compensation promises made to him for his "extra" work in attracting new investors.
In overturning the trial court judge's entry of a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that sufficient evidence introduced at trial showed the business development executive performed sales presentations in reliance on his superiors' promises he would be compensated with stock options and cash bonuses for the work that was beyond his job responsibilities.
Mr. Chapman noted that continued employment alone in reliance on an employer's promise is not enough to prove detrimental reliance for a promissory estoppel claim.
However, in this case, “The jury found that the plaintiff did do more than just continue his employment, he took on added responsibilities,” Chapman said. “It’s a tricky doctrine, but the Appeals Court has made it pretty clear that detriment does require changing your position in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t have done.”
Mr. Chapman in 2011 persuaded the Appeals Court to vacate a jury verdict for a fired employee on the basis that continued employment based on an employer's promise alone is not enough to prove detrimental reliance.
A partner at Todd & Weld, Mr. Chapman has a general litigation practice, with a concentration on business related matters.
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