M&B Receives $1.6 Million Dollar Verdict in a Breach of Contract Case

The Plaintiff Chris Kolb was a salesman for a company known as CTA in Madison County, Alabama. CTA sold robots and robotic systems for applying paint and stealth coatings. These products and services were mostly sold to government contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. In May of 1999 Kolb was promoted to a salesman. As a part of this promotion Kolb signed a written contract that paid him the same base salary he was previously earning with the company but also entitled him to earn commissions. Attached to the contract was a detailed commissions schedule that outlined how the commissions were to be calculated. (It was not simply a percentage of the sale). Kolb worked under this contract from May 1999 to October 2003. During this time frame, Kolb sold over $23M worth of product and services for CTA. In October 2003, he signed another written contract that increased his salary and promoted him to VP of Sales. This October 2003 contract eliminated Kolb’s right to receive commissions on future sales. In October 2003, CTA began to negotiate the sale of the company and it was officially sold to Pratt & Whitney Automation in June 2004.

The Defendant in this lawsuit, PWA claimed that in June of 2000, Kolb agreed to accept a new position of Sales Manager and a raise that eliminated his right to commissions. During the course of the litigation, the Defendant produced an unsigned document that they claimed Kolb signed and agreed to which eliminated his right to commissions. Despite numerous requests, the Defendant could not produce a signed version of this document. Furthermore, the unsigned document they produced was proved to be a forgery by the Plaintiff at trial. The unsigned document had an address for the company that did not exist for over a year after the date on the document. The unsigned document was dated June 23, 2000. The company did not move to the address on the document until May/June 2001. This phony document certainly created a lot of “heat” in the case.

The Plaintiff established through expert testimony that he was owed over $909,000 in unpaid commissions. Plaintiff also established under Alabama code 8-8-8 he was entitled to 6% interest on these commissions from when they were due, which resulted in a claim for over $700,000 in interest. Thus, the Plaintiff asked the jury to return a verdict in the amount of $1,619,890.98. The jury returned a verdict for this exact amount. Plaintiff’s counsel were Elizabeth Moore, George Beason and Morris Lilienthal of Martinson & Beason, PC in Huntsville, Alabama and Jim Lees of Charleston, West Virginia.