Ray Volpe the former Interpublic Group executive has appealed a New York State Supreme Court ruling dismissing his law suit against the firm in which he claimed that the company owed him hundreds of millions of dollars for orchestrating its early investment in Facebook.
In a pre-argument statement Volpe argued that Judge Eileen Bransten made “numerous errors” in rendering her decision.
Volpe argued that Bransten wrongfully ruled that he did not state a viable claim for the breach of an oral agreement that was at the heart of his assertion that he was entitled to more than $300 million that IPG earned in profits from Facebook stock which it sold in 2011 and 2012. She also ruled incorrectly, he asserted, that the oral agreement did not constitute an enforceable modification to his employment agreement.
Volpe’s court statement also argued that Bransten erred in ruling that he had waived his rights to arbitrate his claim.
Bransten tossed the suit in August, calling Volpe’s claims “vague, conclusory and contradictory.”
Volpe, a former IPG account executive, sued IPG in 2012, contending that he struck an “oral agreement,” with the holding company that entitled him to the profits on the company’s initial $2.5 million investment in Facebook. That investment, part of what was termed a “strategic alliance,” was made back in 2006.
IPG sold its Facebook stock over a period that spanned 2011-12, earning a profit of $380 million. Volpe contended that IPG
CEO Michael Roth agreed to a deal via email that gave Volpe and Howard Draft, now executive chairman of Draftfcb, rights to all profits on the block of Facebook shares.
Volpe said IPG agreed to the deal because he and Draft agreed to personally guarantee that advertisers would buy $10 million in Facebook ads, a condition that was part of the initial agreement that enabled IPG to purchase stock in the social network.
An IPG rep referred to an earlier statement the company made about the case: "The Facebook transaction was entered into at the corporate level, and the
claims made by Mr. Volpe are based on self-serving, one-way e-mails sent by Mr. Volpe to IPG management after the fact, in an attempt to garner personal gain from a very successful commercial decision
taken by IPG. The claim that IPG would act as his bank on this transaction is absurd, and wholly inconsistent with how we do business."
Later, the company issued this statement about the appeal: "We continue to believe that Mr. Volpe's claims are without merit and that our success in the lower court will be upheld on appeal."