Yesterday, Heller, Huron, Chertkof & Salzman won a $1.6 million jury verdict in Fairfax County, Virginia. The client, Thad Kemp, had brought suit against his former employer UNICOM for wrongful discharge and breach of contract. The jury awarded Mr. Kemp $1 million in punitive damages.
Kemp worked for UNICOM for nearly ten years, and the CEO, Corry Hong, fired him for refusing to waive his right to commissions he had already earned. Kemp sold leasing arrangements to federal agencies for computer equipment, and in 2013 he reached an oral agreement with UNICOM that he would be paid commissions in line with an established company scale. He then landed a deal that brought millions in profits to UNICOM, and the company reneged on its promise of commissions. Instead, Hong, the CEO, sought to intimidate Kemp into releasing his claims to the commissions, and threatened to fire him and blackball him in his career of federal contracting. When Kemp refused to waive his rights to commissions, Hong fired him.
The case was tried by Steve Chertkof, Rick Salzman and Cassandra Lenning.