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Martino v. MCI Communications Services

November 20, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge


On May 21, 2008, the Court granted Defendant Verizon Business Network Services, Inc.'s ("Verizon Business") summary judgment motion as to Plaintiff Guy R. Martino's ("Martino") Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") claim, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and declined to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over Martino's state law claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). The Court presumes familiarity with its May 21, 2008, Memorandum, Opinion, and Order granting Defendant's first summary judgment motion. (07 C 2627, R. 69-1.)

On June 6, 2008, Martino filed a four-count Complaint at Law in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Law Division, alleging state law claims of breach of contract, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, and a claim under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, 820 ILCS 115/1 et seq. On August 22, 2008, Verizon Business removed Martino's Complaint to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) based on the Court's diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Before the Court is Verizon Business' Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the Court grants Verizon Business' summary judgment motion in its entirety. The Court denies Verizon Business' motion to strike as moot.


I. Martino's Position

In late 2004, Martino applied for a job at MCI Network Services, Inc. and interviewed with Bob Gross, the Regional Sales Director for the Midwest Region, for an open sales representative position in December 2004 or January 2005. (R. 16-1, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 3.) Gross then offered Martino a position in MCI's Enterprise Hosting and Data Center Services Group after which Martino reported directly to Gross. (Id. ¶ 4; R. 18-1, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶ 1.) In return for providing services as a sales representative, MCI paid Martino a base salary of $80,000, plus commissions, benefits, and expenses. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 5.) The 2005 Commissions Plan contained a 300% cap on commissions. (Id. ¶ 6.)

Martino served as a product-knowledge or service-knowledge specialist for hosting and hosting-related products and services, and his title was Business Solutions Consultant ("BSC"). (Id. ¶ 2; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 7.) His position was considered an "overlay" position because he overlaid and assisted the core sales teams that handled the named accounts. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 1; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 8.) In general, a core sales representative -- rather than a BSC -- "quarterbacked" the entire sales process, owned the client relationship, and owned all of the components that made up the sale process. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 8.) Meanwhile, Martino tagged to the premier sales representatives, who had accounts that could generate $1,000,000 per month in monthly recurring charges. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.)

II. BP Amoco Deal

In mid-2005, Verizon Business formed a sales team in an attempt to secure business from BP Amoco, a worldwide energy company. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 9.) Martino participated in the BP Deal as a sales representative in the IT Hosting Solutions division that "overlaid" with the core sales branch responsible for the deal. (Id.) In attempting to secure BP's business, Verizon Business was required to respond to a request for proposal ("RFP") issued by BP. (Id. ¶ 10.) One of the "major initiatives" expected of a BSC at Verizon Business was to assist the core sales team in the RFP process. (Id.) David Schiffman was the core sales representative principally responsible for the BP Deal. (Id. ¶ 11.) Steven Rumstein also played an important role in the BP Deal and Martino met with Rumstein on a regular basis. (Id. ¶ 13.) In October 2005, BP and Verizon Business signed a contract. (Id. ¶ 16.)

III. Martino's 2006 Compensation Plan

After the merger between MCI and Verizon in January 2006, Martino became a Business Solutions Consultant III ("BSC III"). (Id. ¶ 32.) Martino's commissions in 2006 were set forth in two policy documents: (1) the 2006 Verizon Business Specialized Services Hosting Solutions Compensation Plan (the "BSC Plan"); and (2) the Verizon Business 2006 Sales Compensation Policies (the "Compensation Policies") (collectively the "2006 Compensation Plan"). (Id. ¶ 33.) The statement of acceptance at the end of the 2006 BSC Plan states as follows:

I understand that Verizon Business may amend, supplement, supersede, or terminate this Compensation Plan at any time with the appropriate notice according to local law. The Compensation Plan, including all related materials and documentation, is neither a contract nor a guarantee of employment or compensation of any kind. The Compensation Plan, including all materials and documentation, is simply a statement of management's general intent and does not, and shall not be construed to, constitute any promises or guarantees regarding your compensation, including but not limited to, the amount of sales compensation or the methodology used to compute such compensation. (Id. ¶ 34.). Martino signed this statement of acceptance on March 30, 2006, acknowledging that he had received, read, and understood the terms of the BSC Plan and Compensation Policies. (Id. ¶ 35.) Section 6.3 of the Compensation Policies is entitled "Not A Contract." (Id. ¶ 38.) This section specifically states:

No statement contained in this Compensation Plan, or in any other Verizon Business Plan, policy or procedure, constitutes a contract of employment, express or implied; nor does any statement in this Compensation Plan constitute a guarantee of employment, continued employment, or any payment or benefits of any kind whatsoever. (Id.)

Section 2.1 of the Compensation Policies, entitled "Eligibility," provides who is eligible to earn commissions under the Compensation Plan. (Id. ¶ 37.) Section 2.1.3 specifically sets forth what is known as the 15th/16th rule, which provides that "[w]hen leaving the Compensation Plan (i.e. Leave of Absence or Termination) or transferring from one Compensation Plan to another, individuals must remain in the current position through the 16th calendar day of the month in order to receive full compensation for the current month's performance." (Id.)

IV. 200% Cap in 2006 Compensation Plan

Under the 2006 Compensation Plan, Verizon Business provided its BSCs with a target commission, which was "the annual commission amount that Plan Participants receive should they achieve 100% of their performance objectives." (Id. ¶ 40.) The target commission for a BSC III under the Compensation Plan was $60,000. (Id.) A BSC's target commission is comprised of two components: (1) the Sales Component, which accounts for 80% of a BSC's target commission; and (2) the CPE Component, which accounts for the remaining 20% of the BSC's target commission. (Id. ¶ 41.) Section 5.6 of the Compensation Policies, entitled "200% Performance Review," states:

Each component of the Compensation Plan is subject to a 200% performance review by the Commission Review Board. The Commission Review Board will review all factors contributing to the Plan Participant's performance and determine whether an adjustment (increase) to the objective is appropriate. Once a Plan Participant reaches 200% of his/her annualized Sales, CPE or Revenue objective, results for that commission component will be frozen at 200% of annual or annualized Sales, CPE Sales or Revenue performance. Commissions will not be calculated for that component until the review process is completed and a course of action is determined. The review process for the Revenue Component will not be completed until final year-end ...

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