United States District Court, D. Maine
MATTHEW J. WHITE, Plaintiff
HEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE COMPANY, Defendant
DECISION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
BROCK HORNBY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case I interpret the language of an employer's bonus
program, and apply Maine law on accrued vacation pay, access
to a personnel file, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment. I
conclude that the defendant employer is entitled to summary
judgment on all issues.
record is far larger than necessary to rule on the
motion. I confine myself to the facts that are
material. I provide a basic overview at the outset, then
introduce other facts as pertinent to the issue being
decided. In all instances, I take disputed material facts in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the
is based upon diversity of citizenship, and Maine law
early 2013 the plaintiff, Matthew J. White, a highly skilled
IT professional living in Maine, was recruited by and entered
into an employment contract with a previous iteration of the
defendant Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. White Aff.
¶¶ 2, 4, 8 (ECF No. 55-2). I will refer to the
defendant as HP. Among other things, HP's offer letter to
White stated that he would receive a signing bonus, an annual
base salary, ongoing incentive payments based on attaining
certain sales goals, and eligibility to participate in the
Company's benefit programs. White Dep. Ex. 13 at 1 (ECF
No. 43-5). The offer letter included a link to an online
portal (SharePoint) for more benefits information.
Id.; White Dep. Tr. at 89:2- 90:22 (ECF No.
45-1). White accepted the offer and performed his
work for HP in Maine. See White Aff. ¶ 37.
voluntarily resigned from HP in July of 2015. Id.
¶ 35. He did not receive accrued unused vacation
benefits and did not receive a market share bonus for the
last calendar quarter of 2014; he claims that when he
requested access to his personnel file, he obtained only
partial access. Pl.'s Opposing Statement of Mat. Facts
(POSMF)¶ 6 (ECF No. 56).
has sued HP for his vacation benefits and his claimed bonus
as well as statutory remedies under Maine employment law. He
also seeks recovery under Maine's law of quantum meruit
and unjust enrichment. After discovery was complete, HP moved
for summary judgment. See Def.'s Am. Mot. for
Summ. J. (ECF No. 54).
statute requiring full payment of wages at the end of
employment states: “Whenever the terms of employment or
the employer's established practice includes provisions
for paid vacations, vacation pay on cessation of employment
has the same status as wages earned.” 26 M.R.S.A.
§ 626. The parties agree that this statute applies to
White's employment relationship with HP. In 2009,
Maine's Law Court made clear what the statute means in
connection with vacation benefits. I take no guidance,
therefore, from other states' interpretations of their
vacation benefits case, Maine's Law Court held that
“[a]lthough section 626 creates a statutory right for
former employees to seek payment,
entitlement to payment is governed solely by the
terms of the employment agreement. Rowell v. Jones &
Vining, Inc., 524 A.2d 1208, 1210-11 (Me. 1987).
Therefore, pursuant to section 626, a former employee may
only claim what is owed according to the terms of the
employment agreement; section 626 does not modify or
supercede its terms.” Richardson v. Winthrop Sch.
Dep't, 983 A.2d 400, 402 (Me. 2009) (emphasis in
vacation benefits policy at issue here states:
“Employees are strongly encouraged to use all of their
vacation each year-to take time away to refresh, recharge,
and enjoy life outside of work. The vacation program does
not include a year-end carryover feature or a payout
provision if you leave the Company . . .” White
Dep. Ex. 15 at 14-4 (ECF No. 45-8) (emphasis added).
“If you leave [HP] for any reason, either voluntary or
involuntary, you will not receive pay in lieu of unused
vacation. [Except for listed circumstances inapplicable
to White], all unused vacation will be forfeited at the
time of your separation.” Id. at 14-8
(emphasis added). White accepted these terms by accepting
HP's employment offer and continuing to work for HP until
he voluntarily left the company.
conclude that according to the italicized language, the terms
of the employment agreement between White and HP did not
entitle White to accrued vacation benefits when he left the
company. Therefore section 626 affords him no relief. A
contrary result would read those forfeiture provisions out of
the employment contract, counter to the teaching of