The U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, on July 23 issued a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice regarding a lawsuit between Abbot Group LLC and Hobie Cat Company.
The lawsuit which was filed by Rob Abbot and Abbot Group LLC against Hobie in March 2007 was sent to binding arbitration. In the lawsuit, Abbot, who resigned the Hobie account as a rep in 2006, alleged that Hobie owed the firm for commissions due under contract.
In a press release statement that Abbot distributed following the lawsuit dismissal, Abbot was quoted as saying, “I was extremely disappointed in the way Hobie handled this case. I should not have had to sue them to get paid for work that I did. The contract was clearly written in plain English, so plain in fact that my then-12-year-old daughter was able to tell me what it meant. However, I am happy to have it behind me. I feel vindicated by the award now that Hobie has paid it.”
Following the arbitration hearing, attorney Fred Barbour, who was appointed as the arbiter, awarded Abbot Group $217,279 in damages for commissions wrongfully withheld, $22,504 in interest on those commissions, and $42,034.50 in attorney fees, according to the release.
The case stemmed from Hobie restructuring its rep commissions in 2006 and, according to Abbot, essentially forcing reps to accept the new restructure that dropped his commissions on large sales from 7 percent to 4.5 percent. As a result, he told SNEWS, he resigned the account, and gave 30 days notice and, in that time, generated a lot of business for Hobie that remained unpaid until the lawsuit was settled.
When contacted, Ruth Triglia, vice president of sales for Hobie, told us, “We believe Hobie Cat’s reputation with our sales representatives and dealers speaks for itself and the responses we have received to this press release reinforces our belief.”