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LECG, LLC v. Unni

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
2014 WL 2186734 (2014)


Facts

Sanjay Unni (defendant) was an employee at LECG (plaintiff). Unni’s employment agreement, which stated that he was an at-will employee, included an advanced payment of future bonuses. The agreement stated that the bonus was not earned when it was paid; Unni was required to repay the advance with future bonuses. Additionally, the agreement stated that Uni’s bonuses were not guaranteed. The agreement also stated that, in the event Unni’s employment was terminated, Unni was required to pay any balance remaining on his advance. LECG began suffering financial difficulties and reduced its staff. Unni asserted that these departures made it impossible for him to perform his work and earn the bonuses that would allow him to cover the advance payment. Unni also believed that he would be unable to forward his career at LECG. Unni then provided LECG notice of his resignation. LECG sought repayment of the advance from Unni. When Unni failed to pay, LECG filed suit, alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Unni filed a counterclaim, asserting that LECG made his performance impossible due to the circumstances within the company. Unni argued that it was a basic assumption of his employment agreement that he would be able to work at LECG for a long enough period of time to pay off the advance. The case was heard in federal court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Chen, J.)

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