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Kold, LLC v. Croman

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

November 25, 2014

KOLD, LLC, Plaintiff/Counterdefendant,
v.
ANGELLE CROMAN, Defendant/Counterclaimant.

Submitted: October 31, 2014

On Plaintiff/Counter defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment GRANTED

Jennifer Gimler Brady, Esquire, Janine L. Hochberg, Esquire (Argued), Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, Attorneys for Plaintiff/Counterdefendant

Laurence V. Cronin, Esquire (Argued), Smith Katzenstein & Jenkins LLP, Attorney for Defendant/Counterclaimant

OPINION

The Honorable Mary M. Johnston

PROCEDURAL CONTEXT

Plaintiff/Counter defendant KOLD, LLC, ("KOLD") is a Tucson, Arizona television station. KOLD operates as an affiliate of Raycom Media, Inc. ("Raycom"), which owns or services more than fifty television stations nationwide.

Defendant/Counterclaimant Angelle Croman ("Croman") is a former employee of KOLD. Croman began working at KOLD in 2008 as a local sales manager, and continued in that position until her resignation on May 8, 2013.

KOLD instituted this action on May 23, 2013. KOLD alleges that Croman breached her employment contract when she resigned from her local sales manager position in May 2013. KOLD seeks to recover $35, 000 in liquidated damages, as set forth in Croman's employment contract.

Croman asserts that the liquidated damages provision is unenforceable for two reasons. First, Croman alleges the entire employment contract, which contains the liquidated damages provision, is unenforceable for lack of consideration. Second, Croman alleges the liquidated damages clause itself is unenforceable because it constitutes a penalty in violation of Delaware law. In addition, Croman counterclaims that she should not be liable for any liquidated damages because Croman was constructively discharged from her position at KOLD. However, counsel for Croman informed the Court that Croman is no longer pursuing the constructive discharge claim.

KOLD filed this Motion for Summary Judgment on September 30, 2014. Oral Argument was heard on October 31, 2014.

UNDISPUTED FACTS

For purposes of this motion, the facts will be viewed in the light most favorable to Croman, the non-moving party.

In early 2012, Raycom created a leadership development program ("Program") for selected station sales managers. In March 2012, Croman was advised that she had been accepted into the Program. As a condition to participate in the Program, Croman was required to sign a two-year employment contract ("Employment Contract").

Included in the Employment Contract, at Paragraph 10, was a provision titled "LIQUIDATED DAMAGES" ("Liquidated Damages Provision"). ...


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