Buckley v. Slocum Dickson Medical Group


New York Law Journal


Judge David Hurd

Surgeon Buckley's employment with Slocum Dickson Medical Group was governed by an Aug. 17, 2000, Employment Agreement and an Oct. 24, 2002, Severance Plan. His June 2, 2009, written notice that he was resigning on Aug. 30, 2009, satisfied the Employment Agrement's 90-day notice provision. Buckley found it financially advantageous to resign earlier. Slocum did not accept his Aug. 4, 2009, letter advising Slocum of his immediate resignation. Buckley did not work after that date. In September Slocum advised Buckley that he was not entitled to severance. It removed his state court action to district court, claiming that Buckley's contract breach claim arose under ERISA. Buckley was granted judgment on his breach claim; the court found him entitled to $615,855 plus interest, in severance benefits. Buckley did not breach the Employment Agreement by tendering his immediate resignation on Aug. 4, 2009. Further, Slocum's Sept. 3, 2010, letter advising Buckley of its decision to deny severance did not provide a statement of reasons for that denial, as required by ERISA and the Severance Plan. Neither did it identify the provisions of the Severance Plan or Employment Agreement on which the denial was based.

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