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Executive Sues Former Employer for Unjust Enrichment from His Abilities
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Ray Volpe, former senior account executive at Interpublic does have a point if what he says is true. It is a curious case of extremely disproportionate dividends which apparently seems just according to traditional law, but also seems extremely inequitable. Volpe’s grudge concerns the use of his personal abilities to an extent rarely done by an employee – the company profiting hugely from his contribution – but he getting nothing out of it. We all know that an employee is expected to work for his employer in the ordinary course of events, but salaries and compensations are also based on a reasonably proportionate return on labor. Read on to find out why Ray Volpe is so incensed.

Apparently, in 2006, Volpe had advised his employer Interpublic to invest in Facebook when Facebook was a fledgling company. His employer had commented Volpe “was out of his mind” for suggesting that Inter public buy $2.5 million of preferred stock of Facebook. Ultimately the advertising company, which is the second-largest in U.S. agreed upon the investment only when Volpe agreed to personally guarantee advertising revenue for Facebook.

As a result of Volpe’s insistence and personal guarantee offered to his employer, the company ultimately made the investment of $2.5 million in buying Facebook stock. Interpublic sold half of its Facebook stake in August 2011 for $135.5 million, and the remainder on May, 2012 for $249.6 million. It held that Volpe did not deserve anything in excess of his employee salary for his contribution as it was expected of employees to serve their employers for nothing more than their salaries.


Volpe’s lawsuit seeks to recover Interpublic’s alleged pretax gains from the sales and alleges breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and breach of contract.

The lawsuit filed on Monday with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan would be interesting to watch, because this has been a bone of contention for long among outstanding employees: Employers unjustly enrich themselves from the services of talented employees without proportionate compensation.

Neal Brickman, a lawyer for Volpe, told the media, “You have to transport yourself back to 2006 … Facebok was a fledgling start-up. Interpublic thought it was a stupid investment. But Mr. Volpe was incredibly persistent. Not a whit of credit went to him, and he has never been paid a penny.”

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Interpublic spokesman Tom Cunningham said the lawsuit lacked merit. He further added, “The Facebook transaction was entered into at the corporate level, and Volpe is seeking “to garner personal gain from a very successful commercial decision taken by IPG.”

The case is Volpe v. Interpublic Group of Cos, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 652308/2012.



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