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Bury v. Ncs Power Inc.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 18, 2013

ROBERT F. BURY, Plaintiff,
v.
NCS POWER INC., et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT LUMERIA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, GRANTING DEFENDANT ESTATE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DOUGLAS CHANDLER'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Lumeria Research, Inc.'s ("Lumeria") motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 102), Defendant Estate of Lance Chandler's ("Estate") motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 106), and Defendant Douglas Chandler's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 109). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby grants Lumeria's motion, grants the Estate's motion, and grants in part and denies in part Douglas Chandler's motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 13, 2013, Plaintiff Robert Bury ("Bury") filed a fourth amended complaint against Defendants NCS Power, Inc. ("NCS"); Estate of Lance Chandler; Lumeria; Leanne Erdelbrock; Douglas Chandler; Lance Lynn Chandler Trust; The Allyn Group; Wade Au; and Robert Chandler, asserting causes of action for breach of contract, wage claim under RCW 49.52.010, et seq., alter ego liability, and unjust enrichment/quantum meruit. Dkt. 94.

On October 15, 2013, Lumeria filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 102. On October 16, 2013, Estate and Douglas Chandler filed motions for summary judgment. Dkts. 106 & 109. On November 11, 2013, Bury responded. Dkts. 120, 125, & 128. On November 15, 2013, Douglas Chandler replied. Dkt. 136. On November 18, 2013, Estate replied. Dkt. 139. On November 19, 2013, Lumeria replied. Dkt. 141.

On November 11, 2013, Bury filed a motion for leave to file an overlength brief. Dkt. 121. On November 14, 2013, Douglas Chandler filed a motion for leave to file excess pages. Dkt. 135. On November 18, 2013, Lumeria and the Estate filed a motion for leave to file a late reply. Dkt. 141. The Court grants their three motions for leave and will consider all the briefs on file.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

NCS was incorporated in 2007 and was a company in the business of LED lighting for commercial applications. Dkt. 110, Declaration of Douglas Chandler ("DC Dec."), ¶ 3. The company was formed by Lance Chandler, who asked Douglas Chandler to serve on the board of directors. Id. In mid 2011, NCS's officers contacted Bury to inquire about hiring him as NCS's President and CEO. Id. ¶ 8. Eventually Bury signed an employment agreement with NCS with the understanding that his employment would begin on June 1, 2011. Id. ¶ 9; Dkt. 111, Declaration of Brian Keely at 57-61.

In May 2011, Douglas Chandler learned from one of NCS's officers that NCS was quickly running out of money and would not have the financial resources to pay Bury. DC Dec., ¶ 10. On May 31, 2011, Douglas Chandler called Bury and told him not to begin work for NCS. Id. Douglas Chandler asserts that Bury agreed to work for NCS on the condition that NCS write a check in the amount of Bury's signing bonus and Bury would cash the check once NCS had the resources to cover the check. Id.

Bury continued to work for NCS even though NCS's financial condition deteriorated. Id. ¶¶ 10, 11. On April 19, 2012, Bury met with Douglas and Robert Chandler. Id. ¶ 15. Bury memorialized the conversation in an email to Douglas Chandler and stated that he demanded back pay, severance, and other expenses or he would commence litigation against NCS. Id.; Dkt. 128 at 23. Douglas Chandler asserts that Bury's contract naturally expired, whereas Bury asserts that he terminated his contract for good cause.

Lumeria was formed in 2012 by Lance Chandler and was also in the business of LED lighting. Bury alleges that Lumeria is a successor to NCS.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Motions to ...


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