The Stories

I have worked on dozens of cases centered on the issue of compensation. See the Litigation Case History link.

In Hollywood, they say that there are only 7 stories.

As I looked back over the dozens of cases I have worked on over the decades, I saw a commonalities among many of the cases, and some 2 or 3 shares themes.  I concluded that in compensation litigation, there are as many as 9 stories, and I have worked on all 9. I have worked on cases from Vancouver BC to Raleigh, NC, from NYC to OC, and many in-between.

These are the 9 stories; the verbiage below is not necessarily the legally correct terminology, but rather how compensation experts speak:

  • 2 or 3 individuals form a company, and one leaves – either voluntarily or by being forced out, and the other shareholder(s) raise their pay for a variety of motives
    • This can be more complex in a pass-through entity (S Corp or LLC) as cash distributions to the departed owner may cease but reported profit flows through to them, creating a tax liability without the associated distributions to cover the tax
  • Employment provisions in an offer letter, employment agreement, or other employment-related contract that are not delivered in the subsequent employment relationship
  • Misunderstanding of terms used in an employment or compensation communication that are not clearly defined, or not defined at all
    • Equity or stock in a Corp or S Corp
    • Type of Member Interests or units in an LLC
    • Termination or retirement
    • Incentive or bonus or commission
    • Performance
  • Compensation tied to performance criteria and the goals are never defined, measured, or paid for
  • Challenge by tax authority, federal or state, and the reasonableness of compensation for executives, which can be:
    • Compensation too high in a C Corp
    • Compensation too low in an S Corp
  • A change in control of a company and how resulting payments are calculated, and whether the compensation provisions are “single trigger” or “double trigger”
  • Personal injury and the resulting loss of earnings
  • Marital dissolution – high net worth couples
  • Immigration cases in which the USCIS is challenging visa status for reasons of compensation levels and/or roles and responsibilities

There are stories I have likely not yet experienced, because every time I think I have seen it all, the next case proves me incorrect.

broken pencil

Litigation Case History


Fred Whittlesey
Curriculum Vitae


Expert Witness Directory