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Brian D. Jaffe v. Vatech

August 23, 2011

BRIAN D. JAFFE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VATECH, INC.; VATECH E-WOO TECHNOLOGY USA, INC.; YOON PARK; AND JOHN
DOE 1-10 (A FICTITIOUS ENTITY), JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, AND/OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Dennis M. Cavanaugh

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

DENNIS M. CAVANAUGH, U.S.D.J.

This matter comes before the Court upon the motion of Defendants Vatech America, Inc. (formerly known as E-Woo Technology USA, Inc.) ("Vatech America" or "the Company") and Yook Park ("Mr. Park") (collectively, "Defendants"), to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. No oral argument was heard under Rule 78. For the reasons set below,the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff is a resident of California and Defendant Vatech America is incorporated in New Jersey. Compl. ¶¶1-2. Mr. Park is an employee of Vatech America who had supervising authority over Plaintiff. Id. at ¶5.

Plaintiff began his employment with the Company on or about August 11, 2009 as Vice President for Sales and Marketing. Id. at ¶¶ 10-11. At this time, Vatech America's business operations were located in Texas. Id. at ¶ 11; Defs.' Br. at 2. Upon commencing his employment, Plaintiff entered into an Employment Agreement (the "2009 Agreement") in which Vatech America agreed to pay him $130,000 plus commissions. The 2009 Agreement also stipulated that either Plaintiff or the Company could terminate the agreement with one month's notice. Park Decl., Ex.

1. The Company relocated its offices to Secaucus, NJ on March 15, 2010. Park Decl. ¶ 7. One month prior to the move, Plaintiff entered into a new compensation agreement with the Company (the "2010 Agreement"), effective on March 1, 2010, that increased his salary to $160,000. Compl.

¶15; Park Decl., Ex. 2. The 2010 Agreement also stated that "the term of this agreement shall be one year unless the company terminates you for cause as defined in Appendix A." Park Decl., Ex. 2. The attached Appendix A provided that:

Cause is defined as, but not limited to, the intentional act of fraud, embezzlement, theft or any other material violation of law, intentional damage to company's property, intentional disclosure of Company's confidential information and willful conduct to you that is demonstrably and materially injurious to Company, employment either part-time or full time with another company. Id.

On April 5, 2010, Mr. Park emailed Plaintiff and notified him that his employment was being terminated. Compl. ¶19. In this email, Mr. Park informed Plaintiff that "dealer people" had not been accepting the sales team and at a particular conference he received "tremendous complaint" from dealers about the company's "lack of organized support and attitudes of our sales persons." Park Decl., Ex. 3. Plaintiff was told the he was allowed to remain in the company until May 5, 2010.

Plaintiff subsequently filed the present diversity Complaint alleging breach of the employment contract, violations of his rights under the Law Against Discrimination, N.J. Stat. Ann. 10:5-1, et seq. ("NJLAD"), and that Mr. Park violated his rights under NJLAD by aiding and abetting the discrimination by Defendants.

II.STANDARDOFREVIEW

In deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the district court is "required to accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all inferences in the facts alleged in the light most favorable to the [Plaintiff]." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 228 (3d Cir. 2008). "[A] complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). However, the Plaintiff's "obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state a plausible claim. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). ...


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