Fired exec wins in court: Jury says pay him $400,661

Outside court, Roger Stonecipher (middle) with his lawyers, Andrew Beal and Milinda Brown

Credit: cus

Credit: cus

Outside court, Roger Stonecipher (middle) with his lawyers, Andrew Beal and Milinda Brown

A Fulton County jury has awarded $400,661 to the former president of a Fairburn manufacturing company, concluding that the company broke the agreement it made with him when he was fired. When Pangborn LLC let Roger Stonecipher go in February 2020, the company agreed to pay him a total of $599,652 in monthly increments over two years, but later contended that it owned him much less.

The dispute hinged on how much money the company made while Stonecipher was president.

That amount to be paid in severance was based on a bonus compensation plan that certain executives were provided. The calculation for payment was pegged to company earnings of $8.3 million for 2017, 2018 and 2019 combined.

But a few weeks after Stonecipher left the company, he was told that Pangborn owed only $166,563.

That lower figure was based on the company’s recalculation of earnings, which dramatically lowered its profits for the period. The company paid that amount.

Stonecipher argued that the first earnings calculation was valid, he was owed the unpaid balance and he went to court.

In late March, a jury in Fulton County Superior Court agreed with Stonecipher.

Pangborn makes “shot-blasting,” high-powered spraying devices which are used to clean various kinds of machinery, engines and equipment. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Generations of Illinois.

Messages to both Pangborn or United Generations were not returned.

Pangborn hired another president about six months after letting Stonecipher go. The company never told Stonecipher why he was being let go and provided no evidence of a reason at trial, according to attorneys at Beal Sutherland Berlin & Brown, the firm which represents Stonecipher.

“What we find significant is that the jury forced the company to pay exactly what was required under the contract,” said attorney Andrew Beal. “United Generations is family-owned, they shook on it, and Roger felt strongly that they should live up to the agreement.”

Stonecipher is now the president of Matthews Granite in Elberton, about 35 miles northeast of Athens and 110 miles from Atlanta.