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Simpson v. Ernst & Young

United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
850 F. Supp. 648 (1994)


Ernst & Young (defendant) named Simpson (plaintiff) a partner for the firm. Simpson contributed $84,000 to the firm via a bank loan that Ernst & Young arranged and on which Ernst & Young paid the interest. Ernst & Young paid Simpson an annual salary, plus an annual allocation as determined by a compensation committee. There was nothing in the partnership agreement that tied that allocation amount to the business’s profits or losses. Simpson did not have the power to vote for new partners or the removal of existing partners. Simpson could vote for amendments to the partnership agreement, firm dissolution, and mergers, but the firm’s advisory council could override the results of any such vote. Simpson did not have an unconditional right to examine the firm’s books and records. Under the terms of his partnership, Simpson was subject to unlimited liability for the firm’s losses. Ernst & Young fired Simpson. Ernst & Young refused to permit Simpson to examine the firm’s books regarding its attorney’s opinion about his firing. Simpson brought suit for age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Ernst & Young filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that Simpson was a partner and thus not covered by federal statutes protecting the rights of employees.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Steinburg, J.)

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