Kunda v. C.R. Bard, Inc., No. 09-1809
Decided Dec. 23, 2011
Hillary Kunda brought suit against her former employer, C.R. Bard, Inc., alleging that Bard violated Maryland law when, at the time of her termination, it failed to pay her for unvested shares earned through the company’s long-term profit sharing plan. She argued that despite a New Jersey choice-of-law provision in the plan agreement, Maryland law applies to the contract because the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“MWPCL”) constitutes a fundamental Maryland public policy. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of Kunda’s claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted. The court held that MWPCL is not a fundamental public policy of Maryland and that therefore, New Jersey law applies, and under New Jersey law the unvested shares are not wages. Furthermore, even if Maryland law did apply, the unvested shares are not wages under the MWPCL and thus were never owed to Kunda.
-Sara I. Salehi