In a recent turn of events, the New York state appellate court declared the 2019 ruling on Paul Touradji’s case to be unfair and demanded a retrial. So what exactly happened last year that caused this decision to take place? Let’s take it back to where it all began.
Not too long ago in the early 2000’s, Gentry Beach and Robert Vollero worked as portfolio managers for a man named Paul Touradji, the owner of a hedge-fund called Touradji Capital Management that opened in 2005. During their 3 years at his firm, they were robbed of their promised profit sharing and bonuses, experienced verbal abuse, and one even feared for his life after Touradji threatened him.
This apparently was not the first lawsuit made against Touradji; his decline from fame and fortune began when his ex-partner sued him for allegedly pushing him out of their joint venture for oil in Texas and Louisiana. Another indication that Touradji was falling from grace was when Touradji Capital Management’s CEO, Gil Caffray, left the firm to work for Touradji’s biggest competitor and former employer, Tiger Management.
Nevertheless, it was Beach and Vollero’s case that really brought Touradji down, despite everyone knowing that his decline was approaching sooner rather than later. According to the case, Beach and Vollero had made oral contracts with Touradji regarding fixed percentage bonus packages based on profits made during their time at Touradji’s firm, yet Touradji withheld over $50 million in bonuses earned during 2005 to 2008.
They fought for years to prove to the judicial system that they had a right to that money. Thankfully, in May of 2019, the two former employees of Touradji Capital Management won a court battle against their old boss. It took more than a decade for the legal battle to end, with the court ordering Touradji to pay over $90 million to the former employees, which included a 9% yearly interest fee on Beach and Vollero’s bonuses. Not surprisingly, Touradji appealed and it now seems like all parties are back to square one since the appellate court vacated the $90 million judgment and requested a retrial.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused the appellate court to turn down the ruling; it even has Beach and Vollero’s lawyer, Robert Seiden, on edge, who stated the court of appeals decision was based solely on a “technicality”. That “technicality”, according to Touradji’s claim, was that both Beach and Vollero broke industry rules while working for him between 2005 and 2008.
We all know that Gentry Beach and Robert Vollero will continue to fight for their rights and hard earned money. The main result of the new ruling is that Touradji will have to participate in yet another round of court “one-on-ones” with Beach and Vollero. Let’s just hope he doesn’t resort to using his nitpicking strategy to try and discredit valuable evidence.
Just to give you guys an idea of what happened in the first trial, and what will most likely take place during the retrial later this year, 8 jurors spent two weeks listening to evidence, witnesses, and, of course, back-and-forth banter between the two sides. The result of the trial was that all 8 members voted in favor of the plaintiff, Beach and Vollero. The vote was unanimous and everyone agreed Touradji had to pay for the crimes he committed, as well as reimburse all the compensation he withheld for years.
Not only is there going to be a lack of new evidence brought to this future retrial, but Touradji can’t even provide evidence that Beach and Vollero have no grounds on their claims. His strongest argument is that the promise of bonuses were only made verbally, never written down, and therefore not legally binding. Nevertheless, Seiden didn’t seem to worried about the retrial, stating “the jury spoke loud and clear last time that Paul Touradji abused his employees, and we’re confident that another jury will do so again.”
At this point, it’s up to the new jury to ensure justice is served during the retrial and to set a standard for all businesses that employee compensation is a natural right and something worth fighting for.