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Sterling Employment Law

Former Napster CEO: Best Buy breached my employment contract

In 2008, Best Buy, where Detroit readers have probably purchased an electronics item at some point, acquired the digital music sharing service. But then, things changed. iTunes came along and Napster was no longer relevant. Ultimately, Best Buy wound up selling Napster in 2011 to another company, which closed Napster not long after.

Now, the CEO of Napster is suing Best Buy, claiming the electronics giant breached his employment contract. The former CEO must have had a good lawyer on his side when Napster was acquired, because the terms of his agreement were quite generous.

The former CEO claims that Best Buy acted to frustrate that contract, however, and engineered his dismissal from Best Buy in such a way that it was impossible for him to meet benchmarks for which he would have handsomely been rewarded. All told, if the former CEO had met every benchmark, he would have earned $5.8 million. His lawsuit does not say how much he ultimately ended up earning, but it's fair to say that he would not have bothered with a lawsuit unless he made substantially less than that.

Employees can often feel that they're at the mercy of their employers. After all, companies have much more money, knowledge and manpower. How is an aggrieved employee supposed to stand up for him or herself? Although we know it can feel like a David v. Goliath struggle, the assistance of an attorney who understands employment law can do a lot to level the playing field. No one, no matter how big or wealthy or intimidating, can take your rights away from you.

Source: The St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Former Napster CEO sues Best Buy, claims breach of employment contract," Tom Webb, June 1, 2012

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