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McDermott v. Avaya, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

April 14, 2015

ROB McDERMOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
AVAYA, INC., Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Rob McDermott's ("McDermott") motion for partial summary judgment (Dkt. 19) and Defendant Avaya, Inc.'s ("Avaya") motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 25). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby denies McDermott's motion and grants in part and denies in part Avaya's motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 1, 2013, McDermott filed a complaint against Avaya in King County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt. 1, Exh. 1. McDermott asserts causes of action for breach of contract and for a violation of the Washington statute protecting employee's wages, RCW 49.52.050(2) ("WCS")[1]. Id.

On February 25, 2015, McDermott filed a motion for partial summary judgment on certain contract issues (Dkt. 19) and Avaya filed a motion for summary judgment on McDermott's claims (Dkt. 25). Both parties responded (Dkts. 34 & 39), and both parties replied (Dkts. 40 & 41). Both parties also filed a surreply. Dkts. 48 and 50.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. Employment

In 2009 Avaya hired McDermott in a sales capacity. From 2011 to 2013 McDermott worked as a "Named Account Manager, " which is a salesperson responsible for certain accounts instead of territories. Dkt. 20, Declaration of Tiffany Cartwright ("Cartwright Dec."), Exh. 4 at 1. Named Account Managers are compensated through a combination of base salary and commissions, which Avaya refers to as "target incentive" pay. Id.; Exh. 3.

During the relevant time period, McDermott's incentive compensation was subject to Avaya's Global Sales Compensation Policies and Avaya's fiscal year 2013 ("FY13") Sales Compensation Plan for Named Account Manager U.S. Dkt. 27, Declaration of Jennifer Pirozzi ("Pirozzi Dec."), Exhs. A ("Policies") & B (collectively the "Plan Documents"). Both Plan Documents contained a relevant provision as follows:

Avaya reserves the right to: (1) amend, change, or cancel the Sales Compensation Plan [or Policies] or any elements of the Plan solely at its discretion; and (2) revise assigned territories, revenue[/order] quotas, reduce, modify, or withhold compensation based on individual/team performance or Avaya determination of special circumstances, with or without prior notice, and either retroactively or prospectively, except in countries where it is a violation of applicable law.

Id., Exh. A at 30 & Exh. B at 3 (the "right to amend" clause).

At the beginning of FY13, Avaya also gave McDermott a "condition sheet" outlining accounts he agreed to take responsibility for, the quotas he agreed to meet, and the commissions ("target incentives") Avaya agreed to pay if he met those quotas. Cartwright Dec., Exh. 4. The condition sheet incorporated Avaya's FY13 Compensation Plan and Policies, which provided more specific details regarding Mr. McDermott's commissions. Although McDermott was to be compensated for three performance measures, the measure relevant to this lawsuit is PM2. With regard to McDermott's PM2 quota, McDermott asserts, and Avaya does not contest, that PM2 was initially uncapped.[2]

Before participating in Avaya's sales compensation plan for FY13, Avaya required McDermott to electronically sign his FY13 condition sheet. When McDermott signed the sheet, he accepted a Declaration of Understanding, which provided as follows:

I, the undersigned (employee), hereby acknowledge having received a copy of [the Plan Documents]. I acknowledge that I have read, understand and accept the terms and conditions of the Plan [Documents], and this condition sheet, all of which are applicable as of October 1st, 2012.

Pirozzi Dec., Exh. ...


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