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In response to a former associate’s lawsuit over bonuses, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel is countering that its associate bonuses are discretionary, and the credits it uses to calculate bonuses don’t amount to “tangible” property.

Ryan Leonard’s suit, filed in May 2016, alleges that partners at Obermayer Rebmann, where he worked from 2008 to 2014, counted hours differently when billing clients than it did for calculating bonuses. That led to both unfair billing and unfair bonuses, the suit alleged.

In a motion for summary judgment filed on Monday, the firm argued that associate bonuses were not guaranteed in the firm’s employment contract. And a prorated credit, the motion said, could not be converted or misappropriated because it is an “internal and intangible accounting device.”

“No facts exist to support Leonard’s claim that his prorated credit within Obermayer’s internal accounting system was, or even could be, wrongfully appropriated,” the motion said. “Obermayer cannot misappropriate its own self-created representation of the dollars received by Obermayer and attributed by Obermayer to any specific attorney’s work.”

The firm also said that the management committee on several occasions chose to pay Leonard a bonus even though he had not met the required credits.

Because the bonus was described as discretionary in Leonard’s offer of employment, the firm said, there was no breach of contract. And Leonard’s wage-and-hour claims would not hold up because the bonuses were not earned wages, the firm said.

Leonard’s complaint alleged the firm would bill associates’ time to clients using one rate, and then lower that rate internally when calculating what was referred to as a lawyer’s “prorated credit.” The higher the credit—a function of hours worked multiplied by rates charged—the more profitable the lawyer appears, and the more likely to receive a bonus.

An amended complaint filed in October gave more detail on how those credits were adjusted, even naming partners who allegedly benefited.

Citing Obermayer Rebmann’s discovery responses, Leonard said partners who reallocated credits included Jeffrey Batoff, Gary Samms, Alice Johnston and Ruth Wessel. An exhibit to the complaint was a 2013 memo from then-managing partner Robert Whitelaw, which said the practice had been approved by another partner more than 20 years before, and was under review.

“The management committee does not believe this is an appropriate or fair practice and that it distorts the numbers and actually reduces the profits to the partnership,” Whitelaw’s memo said.

Leonard’s exhibits also included a memo from Samms to Whitelaw, in which Samms said using a flat rate and the reallocation method allowed the firm to collect a higher fee, as opposed to billing clients different amounts for work by lawyers at different levels. He gave an example in which the firm charged a $190 flat fee, instead of $195 or $200 for partners and $170 or $175 for associates, but associates did “the bulk of the work.”

Leonard’s complaint also alleged that partners were sometimes affected by reallocation of credits. He cited deposition testimony from former Obermayer Rebmann partner Ralph Ferrara, who accused Tom Leonard, now the firm’s chairman, of billing hours on a file for work he did not do. Since the client paid a flat monthly fee, he said, that took away from other partners’ compensation.

Obermayer Rebmann’s motion argued that the management committee considers many factors in making bonus determinations, and all of those were within its discretion.

The court previously granted judgment on the pleadings in Obermayer Rebmann’s favor with regard to Leonard’s claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent inducement. But Leonard’s other claims survived.

Obermayer Rebmann declined to comment beyond the filings. Leonard also declined to comment.

In response to a former associate’s lawsuit over bonuses, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel is countering that its associate bonuses are discretionary, and the credits it uses to calculate bonuses don’t amount to “tangible” property.

Ryan Leonard’s suit, filed in May 2016, alleges that partners at Obermayer Rebmann , where he worked from 2008 to 2014, counted hours differently when billing clients than it did for calculating bonuses. That led to both unfair billing and unfair bonuses, the suit alleged.

In a motion for summary judgment filed on Monday, the firm argued that associate bonuses were not guaranteed in the firm’s employment contract. And a prorated credit, the motion said, could not be converted or misappropriated because it is an “internal and intangible accounting device.”

“No facts exist to support Leonard’s claim that his prorated credit within Obermayer’s internal accounting system was, or even could be, wrongfully appropriated,” the motion said. “Obermayer cannot misappropriate its own self-created representation of the dollars received by Obermayer and attributed by Obermayer to any specific attorney’s work.”

The firm also said that the management committee on several occasions chose to pay Leonard a bonus even though he had not met the required credits.

Because the bonus was described as discretionary in Leonard’s offer of employment, the firm said, there was no breach of contract. And Leonard’s wage-and-hour claims would not hold up because the bonuses were not earned wages, the firm said.

Leonard’s complaint alleged the firm would bill associates’ time to clients using one rate, and then lower that rate internally when calculating what was referred to as a lawyer’s “prorated credit.” The higher the credit—a function of hours worked multiplied by rates charged—the more profitable the lawyer appears, and the more likely to receive a bonus.

An amended complaint filed in October gave more detail on how those credits were adjusted, even naming partners who allegedly benefited.

Citing Obermayer Rebmann ‘s discovery responses, Leonard said partners who reallocated credits included Jeffrey Batoff, Gary Samms, Alice Johnston and Ruth Wessel. An exhibit to the complaint was a 2013 memo from then-managing partner Robert Whitelaw, which said the practice had been approved by another partner more than 20 years before, and was under review.

“The management committee does not believe this is an appropriate or fair practice and that it distorts the numbers and actually reduces the profits to the partnership,” Whitelaw’s memo said.

Leonard’s exhibits also included a memo from Samms to Whitelaw, in which Samms said using a flat rate and the reallocation method allowed the firm to collect a higher fee, as opposed to billing clients different amounts for work by lawyers at different levels. He gave an example in which the firm charged a $190 flat fee, instead of $195 or $200 for partners and $170 or $175 for associates, but associates did “the bulk of the work.”

Leonard’s complaint also alleged that partners were sometimes affected by reallocation of credits. He cited deposition testimony from former Obermayer Rebmann partner Ralph Ferrara, who accused Tom Leonard, now the firm’s chairman, of billing hours on a file for work he did not do. Since the client paid a flat monthly fee, he said, that took away from other partners’ compensation.

Obermayer Rebmann ‘s motion argued that the management committee considers many factors in making bonus determinations, and all of those were within its discretion.

The court previously granted judgment on the pleadings in Obermayer Rebmann ‘s favor with regard to Leonard’s claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent inducement. But Leonard’s other claims survived.

Obermayer Rebmann declined to comment beyond the filings. Leonard also declined to comment.