A stockbroker who sued his former employer over claims he was entitled to a $1 million stake in the company has had his case thrown out for a second time.
Philip Pepe’s appeal was dismissed by the full bench of the Supreme Court in Victoria on Wednesday, after the judges upheld a December 2010 decision of the court that Mr Pepe was not entitled to an equity stake in Platypus Asset Management.
Mr Pepe claimed an employment contract he signed with Platypus in early 2006 guaranteed him entitlement to 5 per cent equity in the funds management firm once he had served a one-year probationary period.
Platypus dismissed Mr Pepe in October 2007, 18 months after he was recruited and a month after he received a $200,000 bonus for the 2006-07 year on top of his $262,000 salary package.
He currently works as a private client adviser at Shaw Stockbroking and could not be reached for comment. Platypus Asset Management also declined to comment.
The appeal judges found Justice Peter Almond was correct to find the employment contract did not entitle Mr Pepe to an equity stake in the firm.
“The paragraph [in the contract] did not ‘guarantee’ [Mr] Pepe a 5 per cent equity stake; it only obliged PAM to offer an equity participation opportunity at the end of the qualifying period,” Justices Marcia Neave, Elizabeth Hollingworth and Peter Buchanan wrote.
The appeal judges also upheld the finding that Mr Pepe being “entitled to the full economic benefit” of shares or options during a three-year vesting period did not mean he was entitled to the cash value. Rather, he was entitled to dividends, share issues and conversion, or buybacks.
Justice Almond found in 2010 that “if the parties had intended that [Mr] Pepe was entitled to the full value of the shares or options during the vesting period it would have been easy to say so in simple terms”.
Justice Almond also noted in his judgment that he had found Mr Pepe to be “reluctant to readily concede the obvious” and his evidence had been “unimpressive and evasive” and “contrived”.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.