The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable David H. Coar
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before this Court on Appellant Bryant Collins' ("Appellant") appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court, who granted summary judgment in favor of Appellee Comdisco Inc. ("Appellee").
Appellant was an at-will employee of Appellee in Texas. Appellant's compensation consisted of a base salary and a commission. During the relevant periods, Appellant was paid in full for his salary. As to his commission, Appellant claimed that he was owed $1,111,066 for fiscal year 1999, and $823,918 for fiscal year 2000.
In fiscal year 1999, Appellee and its sales representatives encountered problems in terms of reconciling and timely paying commissions to sales representatives. On or about December 17, 1999, Appellant reviewed and signed a "Fiscal 1999 Commissions Resolution (the "Resolution"). The Resolution incorporated the terms of a Memorandum from Thomas Flohr.
This resolution provided, in part, that if Appellant were to accept the sum of $926,311 from Appellee, this payment would act as "final payment for all remaining amounts to which [Appellant] may be entitled under the Fiscal 1999 Comdisco Sales Plan." Appellant reviewed the Memorandum from Thomas Flohr. Under the specific terms of the Resolution, Appellee paid the sum of $926,311 and Appellant received and accepted this payment in January of 2000.
On July 31, 2000, Appellant signed an offer letter, which provided, in part, that Appellant would continue to be eligible for the Fiscal 2000 Incentive Compensation Plan. The FY 2000 IT District Manager Compensation Plan incorporated all of the general terms and conditions contained in the FY 2000 Sales Compensation Plan. Participation in the FY 2000 Incentive Compensation Plan, and later the FY 2001 Incentive Plan, was contingent upon the participant's agreement that all forms of incentive compensation to which he may be entitled under any prior Comdisco incentive plan had been paid in full.
Appellant claims that despite the Resolution, and FY 2000 and FY 2001 Sales Plans, he is still entitled to full commission, as originally decided prior to the Resolution. Appellant claims that the Resolution was not a valid contract, and further he signed it under economic duress. He claims that oral representations were made to him that suggested he Resolution payment was not final. Appellant has refused to return the $916,311 in order to pursue a claim for rescission of the release.
In May 2001, Appellant filed a lawsuit against Comdisco accusing his employer of engaging in fraud, breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealings. On July 2, 2001, Appellant voluntarily resigned. On November 24, 2001, Appellant filed a Proof of Claim in the bankruptcy proceedings. Appellant claimed damages in the approximate amount of $2,252,000, which represented unpaid wages and commissions. On or about November 28, 2004, Appellant filed a second Proof of Claim, claiming approximately $1,700,000 of damages, designated as Claim No. 1999. Claim No. 1999 was the claim at issue in the bankruptcy proceedings. On March 24, 2005 the Bankruptcy court granted summary judgment to Appellee. Appellant now asks the court to review the decision.
On appeal in district court, a bankruptcy court's findings of fact are reviewed for clear error, and its conclusions of law are reviewed de novo. Monarch Air Serv. v. Solow (In re Midway Airlines, Inc.), 383 F.3d 663, 668 (7th Cir. 2004). As a conclusion of law, a grant of summary judgment by the bankruptcy court is therefore reviewed de novo. Id. A grant of summary judgment will be affirmed if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56( c). Summary judgment may be affirmed on any ground supported by the record, even if it was not relied upon by the court below. Id.; Johnson v. Gudmundsson, 35 F.3d 1104 (7th Cir. 1994).
I. 7056-1 Statements and Responses
Appellant challenges the Bankruptcy court's finding that Appellant's response to Appellee's 7056-1 statement did not follow the Rules, did not cite to the record and was not supported by the record. Appellant's response to Appellee's 7056-1 statement did not follow the proper format in answering whether Appellant denied or admitted to the statements of fact.
Although Appellant's response did cite to the record for the most part, there are several instances when Appellant's response was not supported by the record. For example, see Appellant's response to paragraphs 12, 42, 48, 49, 50 and 52. The question before this court is whether there was clear error in the Bankruptcy ...