PHILADELPHIA – Counsel for defendants involved a breach of contract litigation spanning two states have requested to exit the lawsuit, due to conflicts with their clients.
On April 11, defense counsel Aimee L. Kumer and James C. Crumlish III of Elliott Greenleaf in Blue Bell filed a motion to withdraw their appearance, citing “irreconcilable differences” between themselves and these defendants: Family Dermatology, Family Dermatology of Pennsylvania, Family Dermatology Management of Pennsylvania, Family Dermatology Staffing of Pennsylvania, Paula Nelson M.D., Adeyinka Adesokan and Bamidele Agbowu.
On Monday, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary S. Glazer approved the motion.
The suit alleges plaintiff Atsuko Kodama was approached to work for the defendants in their new dermatology practice. Under a one-year contract set to renew at its conclusion, Kodama says she was offered an annual salary of $400,000. Kodama says she quit her job at the time to move to Philadelphia to accept this offer.
After just more than one year of employment, Kodama alleges the defendants defaulted on paying her salary in August 2013. She did not receive her salary, or her promised portion of the proceeds from the practice’s business – which totaled 40 percent of all net collections from dermapathology services and 45 percent of all net collections from its dermatology services.
Kodama says the defendant attributed the non-payment to an “accounting error” and made good on the payments at the end of that month. However, Kodama added the practice was late in paying her salary in both September and October 2013, did not pay her at all in November 2013, and made only partial payments for her work from December 2013 through March 2014.
In February 2014, Kodama claimed to have demanded all of her back pay, which then totaled in excess of $200,000. The defendants claimed it would take time to resolve, since they didn’t have the funds to pay off all of their doctors at once.
Further, Kodama says the defendants, in order to keep the practice open, failed to pay their rent and utility bills – though the practice did eventually close in April 2014.
Due to not paying the plaintiff’s salary, Kodama said she was forced to leave the practice and open a new one herself, spending more than $200,000 in the process – but, with the defendants allegedly still using her name in connection with their business – which Kodama requests they cease doing. Kodama says she incurred over $400,000 in costs, reputation damage and emotional distress over the course of this situation.
Kodama went on to say she had previously entered into a settlement agreement with the defendants in December 2014, to receive 20 monthly payments of $10,000 for a total of $200,000 (her back pay); but the defendants defaulted on those payments as well.
Meanwhile, Kodama says Nelson and Adesokan have purchased property in Georgia and a Rolls Royce automobile using funds that were rightly due her, and went on to allege the defendants created shell companies to defraud both their customers and employees.
Kodama’s suit includes charges of breach of contract, fraud in the inducement of a contract, unjust enrichment for a contract, conversion of a contract, promissory estoppel for a contract and civil conspiracy.
The plaintiff is seeking, jointly and severally, in excess of $400,000 for compensatory, incidental, consequential and punitive damages, plus delay damages, interest, costs and attorney’s fees in this case.
The plaintiff is represented by Gregory C. Littman and Jonathan Rosenau of Freundlich & Littman, in Philadelphia.
The defendant is represented by Olugbenga O. Abiona in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150403322
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org