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Linden v. X2 Biosystems, Inc

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

May 9, 2018

CHARLES LINDEN and RONALD LANDER, Plaintiffs,
v.
X2 BIOSYSTEMS, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Dkt. #55. Defendants seek the dismissal of all of Plaintiffs' claims, on the basis that Plaintiffs have failed to plead they were terminated without just cause, which is the trigger for the compensation they allege they are owed. Id. Plaintiffs oppose the motion, arguing that they have adequately pled they were terminated without just cause, and that Defendants cannot support their definition of that term. Dkt. #66. Having reviewed the record before it, and neither party having requested oral argument on the motion, the Court now GRANTS Defendants' motion, subject to leave to amend.

         II. BACKGROUND

         This matter raises allegations of breach of contract and willful deprivation of wages in violation of RCW 49.52.050 and RCW 49.52.070. Dkt. #1. Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in this Court on June 27, 2017, and allege the following factual background to their claims:

4.1 Plaintiffs Linden and Lander are former employees of Defendant X2.
4.2 Plaintiff Linden was employed by Defendant X2 as a consultant from September 3, 2013 until October 31, 2013, and as a salaried employee with the title Strategic Program Manager from November 1, 2013 until March 6, 2017.
4.3 Plaintiff Lander was employed by Defendant X2 as a consultant to Defendant X2 and to its former company, X2 Impact, from November 2012 until October 31, 2013 and as a salaried employee with the title Program Manager for Defendant X2 from November 1, 2013 until March 6, 2017.
4.4 Defendant X2 is a private corporation that develops and distributes impact monitoring devices and software providing neurocognitive baseline testing, post-impact assessments, remove-from-play decision support, and recovery and return-to-play monitoring. See Exhibit A.
4.5 During their employment with Defendant X2, Plaintiffs were responsible for identifying and developing relationships and agreements between various government agencies and Defendant X2. Plaintiffs' duties included securing meetings with relevant members of government agencies, preparing bids and proposals for government contracts, and conducting research.
4.6 During their employment with Defendant X2, Plaintiffs met numerous milestones in securing government contracts, preparing bids and proposals for said contracts, and delivering on said contracts.
4.7 In November 2013, Plaintiffs became salaried employees of Defendant X2.
4.8 For the employment period from November 2013 to May 2014, Plaintiffs received reimbursement of their travel and business expenses but did not receive salaries from Defendant X2. During this time, Defendant X2 assured Plaintiffs that they would receive salaries and back pay once Defendant X2 secured funds.
4.9 In January 2014, Plaintiffs and Defendant X2 executed employment contracts and stock agreements memorializing Plaintiffs' employment agreement with Defendant X2. See Exhibit B. These agreements memorialized Plaintiffs' positions as members of Defendant X2's Government Industrial Division (“GID”), which was the sole department at Defendant X2 responsible for securing and performing on government contracts.
4.10 In May 2014, Plaintiffs were included on Defendant X2's employee payroll, and Defendant X2 provided funds to Plaintiffs that constituted their salaries, signing bonuses, and back pay from November 2013 to date.
4.11 In March 2015, Defendant X2 requested that Plaintiffs renegotiate their employment contracts for lesser compensation. Plaintiffs did not agree to Defendant X2's request. See Exhibit C.
4.12 In October 2015, two members of the GID resigned from Defendant X2 due to payroll disputes, and Plaintiffs subsequently assumed the departed members' duties and responsibilities. Defendant X2 promised to Plaintiffs a salary increase and additional compensation for assuming said duties and responsibilities, which promise did not materialize.
4.13 In August 2016, Defendant X2 requested that Plaintiff Linden sign an agreement stipulating that Plaintiff Linden would become an unpaid board member of Defendant X2. See Exhibit D. Defendant X2 abandoned its ...

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