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Ex-HHGregg manager's lawsuit grows into class-action

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A lawsuit brought by a former HHGregg Inc. manager charging that the company failed to pay incentive bonuses has been granted class-action status by a Marion Superior Court judge.

Former accounting manager Dwain Underwood filed his complaint in March 2013, claiming that the Indianapolis-based appliance, electronics and furniture retailer failed to factor a $40 million payout into the calculation used to determine whether employees were entitled to incentive bonuses.

The company collected the payout after Executive Chairman Jerry Throgmartin died in 2012.

Underwood claims HHGregg should have paid him a $25,000 bonus based on the company’s fiscal 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, of $144.4 million.

Underwood claims HHGregg wrongly based bonuses on “adjusted EBITDA,” which excluded the life insurance payout. The payout sent HHGregg's profit soaring in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2012.

The complaint involves 62 current and former HHGregg employees, according to Judge Robert R. Altice Jr.’s July 9 ruling awarding Underwood’s suit class-action status.

Underwood’s attorney, Eric Pavlack, said the amount of unpaid bonuses totals about $5 million.

“We’re very pleased with the decision,” he said. “We weren’t surprised because we think it’s the right decision. We were hopeful that this is what would happen.”

A spokeswoman for HHGregg said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

In rendering his decision, the judge disagreed with HHGregg’s argument that class-action status should not be granted because some members don’t want to belong to the suit.

“If such class members do not wish to participate in this case,” Altice wrote, “they will have the opportunity to opt out after receiving notice.”

Underwood voluntarily left the company in January 2013, two months before he filed suit.

He is suing the company for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

 
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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