The Million Dollar Verbal Promise

Minneapolis, MN employment law attorney Andrew Parker talks about a case “The Million Dollar Verbal Promise.”

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Phone: (612) 355-4100


We represented a portfolio manager. He had actually gone to several other law firms in town, none of them agreeing to take his case. His case involved an oral promise that was made to him by the hedge fund president who he went to work for. The oral promise was “We will pay you a $1 million in a year our fund beats the S&P 500,” so a very objective promise. It occurred two times over the next few years, and the employer did not pay my client the money that they owed. They in fact denied that the promise had ever been made. My client never put this in writing. The employer never put this in writing. The employer, again, denied ever having made the promise, indicating that there was never any reference to it in any e-mail, any writing anywhere, nor was there any reference to it in any of the financials of the company. And so the difficulty of establishing this oral contract of course became central to the case. We developed a number of different facts. It became an eight-day trial, and it resulted in a full award for our client of all of the money that he was owed, plus interest.