Reeves v. Greening, et al
ORDER Re 26 Motion for Summary Judgment: judgment shall be entered for the defendants dismissing the First and Third Claims for Relief, the Motion for Summary Judgment on the Second Claim for Relief is denied as to the defendant Janice M. Greening and granted as to Janice M. Greening, LLC, by Judge Richard P. Matsch on 8/19/2014.(jsmit)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch
Civil Action No. 13-cv-02398-RPM
JANICE M. GREENING and
THE LAW FIRM OF JANICE M. GREENING, LLC, (Janice M. Greening, LLC),
ORDER ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Janice M. Greening practices law as Janice M. Greening, LLC, specializing in
representing workers compensation claimants. Her office in 2012 was in one room with
a second room for her daughter, serving as a receptionist and legal assistant. In the
summer of 2012, Greening decided that she needed help and asked Brad Unkeless, a
lawyer representing employers in workers compensation claims who taught at The
University of Denver College of Law as an adjunct professor, if he knew if any of his
former students might be interested in working with her as an associate. Unkeless
suggested Mark L. Reeves who was then living and working in Dallas, Texas.
After multiple telephone calls between Reeves and Greening, she offered him a
position as an associate with an annual salary of $52,000, two weeks vacation and
health benefits. During those conversations, Greening mentioned that she may retire
within five years and Reeves may purchase or take over her practice.
Reeves accepted the offer and moved to Denver, Colorado. When he arrived at
the Greening office, he found that there was no office for him, or even a desk and he
was assigned to work as a receptionist while Greening’s daughter was on vacation.
Reeves was not given any training or mentoring to work as an attorney representing
clients of the office.
After six weeks, Greening told Reeves that it wasn’t working out and that she
planned to retire earlier than she had said. The employment relationship ended with
These facts are not disputed. Reeves filed this action against Greening and her
firm, asserting three claims for relief: First, breach of contract for a definite period of
time; Second, deceit based on fraud and Third, deceit based upon fraud at plaintiff’s
The defendants moved for summary judgment of dismissal of all three claims.
The plaintiff’s proposed evidence is not sufficient to support a claim for breach of
contract for a period of five years. There is no definite promise of any specific term of
employment. At best there may have been an expectancy in the plaintiff’s mind but
Greening did not commit herself to a contract for that or any other period. Additionally,
there is no written agreement and insufficient performance to escape the bar of the
Statute of Frauds.
The claim that Greening made a fraudulent statement that she was going to retire
when she terminated the plaintiff’s employment is not actionable as fraud. That was
given as a reason for ending the relationship but there is no detrimental reliance, an
element of a fraud claim.
The second claim for relief is based on the conversations leading to Reeves
coming to Denver expecting to work as a lawyer in Greening, LLC. That never
happened. The claim that Greening fraudulently induced the plaintiff to come to work
with that expectation should be determined by a jury. That claim is against the
defendant Greening, individually for tortious conduct.
Upon the foregoing, it is
ORDERED, that judgment shall be entered for the defendants dismissing the
First and Third Claims for Relief. It is
FURTHER ORDERED, that the Motion for Summary Judgment on the Second
Claim for Relief is denied as to the defendant Janice M. Greening and granted as to
Janice M. Greening, LLC.
DATED: August 19th, 2014
BY THE COURT:
s/Richard P. Matsch
Richard P. Matsch, Senior Judge
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