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BRADLEY v. TNT SKYPACK

November 5, 1997

SEAN BRADLEY, Plaintiff, TNT SKYPACK, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: BUCKLO

 The plaintiff, Sean Bradley, has sued the defendant, TNT Skypack, Inc. ("TNT") for breach of an employment contract. TNT has filed counterclaims for breach of the employment contract. TNT moves for summary judgment on both Mr. Bradley's claim and its counterclaim. For the following reasons, TNT's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

 Background

 In September, 1994, Mr. Bradley was working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for TNT Express Worldwide, which, like TNT, is a subsidiary of GD Express Worldwide, N.V., a Netherlands corporation. During September, Mr. Bradley, who wished to secure a position in upper management somewhere within the TNT family of corporations, traveled to New York with the belief a good opportunity for advancement to management positions existed in the United States. Mr. Bradley spent four or five days interviewing with TNT in New York.

 Consequently, Mr. Bradley was offered a position as a TNT commercial manager in New York. Mr. Bradley accepted the offer and after some negotiating, in October, 1994, signed a contract for employment. The negotiations occurred between Mr. Bradley and Fil DiNardo, TNT's Human Resources vice president in New York. Mr. Bradley's employment contract provided for certain relocation expenses, housing and car allowances, leave tickets, *fn1" and set a base pay. The contract also contained a provision explicitly noting Mr. Bradley's interest in career advancement:

 
CAREER OBJECTIVES: You have clearly indicated that your objective is to eventually secure a senior role in line management. It is understood that this assignment is not a promise that such a position will materialize and that you will be given consideration for such positions along with other internal and/or external qualified candidates. Until such an assignment should materialize, you completely understand that you will work on a project management basis.

 (Pl. Ex. A at 21). Mr. Bradley began to make arrangements to move his family from Dubai to the United States. In November, 1994, Tom Cox, the president and CEO of TNT's North American region, sent Mr. DiNardo a memo asking whether it was possible to "get out of the Sean Bradley acquisition?" (Pl. Ex. B at T60). Not long after, Mr. DiNardo called Mr. Bradley and told him he would be offered a sales manager position. Mr. Bradley reminded Mr. DiNardo he was coming to the United States to further his career and would not take a sales manager position. Mr. DiNardo then informed Mr. Bradley he could still have the commercial manager position.

 In early December, 1994, Mr. Bradley and his family moved to New York and Mr. Bradley began employment with TNT. Mr. Bradley was provided with temporary housing and a rental car. On January 12, 1995, Roger Corcoran was named president and CEO of the North American region and began a restructuring of TNT. Mr. Bradley was told to stay in temporary housing while the company was restructuring. Mr. Bradley met with Mr. Corcoran and expressed his interest in a senior management position with TNT. In February, 1996, Mr. Corcoran announced the new structure of TNT, which comprised four geographic regions, each headed by a regional vice president who was supported by a regional operations manager and a regional sales manager.

 In May, 1995, David Siegfried took over as president and CEO of TNT's North American region. Mr. Siegfried was an ex-Roadway Global Air ("RGA") employee. According to both Mr. Bradley and Mr. Jasko, Mr. Siegfried brought with him former RGA employees to fill senior management positions at TNT. Mr. Bradley was never interviewed for any of the senior management positions that became available.

 In September, 1995, TNT again went through a corporate reorganization. The central region was dissolved and incorporated into a new, larger western region. Mr. Bradley was asked to become a Global Accounts Manager, which, according to Mr. Bradley, was a sales position without any management responsibilities. Mr. Bradley inquired as to whether he had been considered for the regional sales manager position for the new western region, but never received a response. Mr. Bradley continued to request his reimbursement and allowance payments.

 During December, 1995, and January, 1996, Mr. Bradley started pursuing other career opportunities. Mr. Bradley began negotiating job possibilities in Dubai with DHL Worldwide Express ("DHL"), a company in the same business as TNT. Mr. Bradley's contact at DHL was Ken Pascoe, a DHL manager who Mr. Bradley had known for several years. On January 18, 1996, Mr. Bradley accepted a position to begin work with DHL in Dubai by March 16, 1996. He did not inform TNT that he had accepted the position with DHL. Mr. Bradley scheduled a paid vacation from TNT that commenced on February 10, 1996. At that time Mr. Bradley and his family permanently left the United States. While on paid vacation from TNT, Mr. Bradley began employment with DHL in Dubai.

 Choice of Law

 The law that governs a case based on diversity jurisdiction is determined by looking to the conflict-of-law rules of the state in which the federal court sits. Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfg. Co., 313 U.S. 487, 85 L. Ed. 1477, 61 S. Ct. 1020 (1941). In breach of contract cases, the Illinois Supreme Court applies the "most significant contacts" test of the Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Law. GATX Leasing Corp. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co., 64 F.3d 1112, 1115 (1995). "The contacts relevant to a choice-of-law decision include 'the place of contracting, negotiation, performance, location of the subject matter of the contract, and the domicile, residence, place of incorporation, and business of the parties.'" Id. (quoting Palmer v. Beverly Enters., 823 F.2d 1105, 1109-10 (7th Cir. 1987)(citations omitted)). In the present case, Mr. Bradley's employment contract was executed through TNT's New York office. Mr. Bradley negotiated the contract with Fil DiNardo in New York. Additionally, performance of the contract started when Mr. ...


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