The firm obtained a complete dismissal, on behalf of hedge fund BlueCrest Capital Management, of claims brought by a former employee, Nicholas O’Grady. Mr. O’Grady was a portfolio manager in BlueCrest’s U.S. Equities Division from December 2013 until he was terminated on June 4, 2014.
On February 15, 2015, Mr. O’Grady filed suit in the Southern District of New York, asserting claims against BlueCrest for breach of contract, breach of an implied contract, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, breach of good faith and fair dealing, violations of New York’s labor laws, and an accounting. His complaint alleged that he was fired “without cause,” and claimed that under his employment contract, he was entitled to over $1.3 million in bonus and severance payments. He sought an additional $1.3 million in damages for violations of New York’s Labor Law, as well as attorneys’ fees.
Quinn Emanuel moved to dismiss, arguing that Mr. O’Grady’s complaint failed to state a legally cognizable claim. We argued that Mr. O’Grady’s employment agreement expressly stated that bonuses were paid at BlueCrest’s sole discretion, and that Mr. O’Grady failed to allege that he was actively employed at the time of payment, as required by the contract. We also argued that his claims for breach of an implied contract, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and an accounting were fatally deficient and duplicative of his breach of contract claim, and that New York’s Labor Law does not apply to unpaid bonus compensation.
On June 9, 2015, during a routine scheduling hearing, Judge Stein elected to hear argument on BlueCrest’s motion to dismiss. On June 15, 2015, just five days after hearing oral argument, Judge Stein issued a ruling dismissing each one of Mr. O’Grady’s claims and declining to allow amendment of the complaint as futile. Mr. O’Grady has appealed the dismissal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.