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Byrd v. Packaging Unlimited, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

March 19, 2004, Rendered

NO. 2002-CA-002209-MR

Opinion

REVERSING AND REMANDING

DYCHE, JUDGE: John T. Byrd, III, and John T. Byrd & Associates, Inc., appeal from a jury verdict in favor of appellees Packaging Unlimited, Inc., Robert Hanekamp, and Peter Hanekamp determining that appellees did not wrongfully discharge Byrd from his managerial position with Packing Unlimited as a result of Byrd's refusal to permit false entries to be made into the business records of Packaging Unlimited. Appellants contend that the trial court erred by denying their motion pursuant to Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure (CR) 15.02 to amend their complaint to conform to the evidence; by requiring appellants to prove an intent to defraud in association with their claim that Byrd was discharged for refusing to permit the alteration of business records; and by submitting an erroneous instruction to the jury. Appellants also  [*2] appeal the trial court's award of summary judgment to appellees on their claim of breach of contract and/or promissory estoppel. Because the trial court, over appellants' objection, submitted an erroneous jury instruction which required appellants to prove that business records had been falsified subsequent to Byrd's discharge, an element which is not required to be proven in a wrongful discharge case, we reverse and remand for a new trial.

In 1979 Byrd was hired as a full-time professor at the Rubel School of Business at Bellarmine University. Beginning in 1985, Byrd also worked as a business consultant through his company John T. Byrd & Associates, Inc., of which Byrd is the sole shareholder and employee. During the late 1980s and the 1990s Byrd did consulting work for Packaging Unlimited and one of its associated companies, Promotional Packaging, Inc.

Appellee Packaging Unlimited is a closely-held corporation which, among other things, produces retail display boxes for manufacturing clients. During the period involved in this case, one of Packaging Unlimited's most important customers was Colgate-Palmolive. During the relevant time period Packaging Unlimited produced and packaged  [*3] retail display boxes for Colgate for its consumer product Total Toothpaste.

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2004 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 189 *; 2004 WL 539125

JOHN T. BYRD; JOHN T. BYRD & ASSOCIATES, INC., APPELLANTS v. PACKAGING UNLIMITED, INC.; PETER HANEKAMP; ROBERT HANEKAMP, APPELLEES

Notice: THIS OPINION IS DESIGNATED "NOT TO BE PUBLISHED." PURSUANT TO THE RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE PROMULGATED BY THE SUPREME COURT, CR 76.28(4)(C), THIS OPINION IS NOT TO BE PUBLISHED AND SHALL NOT BE CITED OR USED AS BINDING PRECEDENT IN ANY OTHER CASE IN ANY COURT OF THIS STATE; HOWEVER, UNPUBLISHED KENTUCKY APPELLATE DECISIONS, RENDERED AFTER JANUARY 1, 2003, MAY BE CITED FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COURT IF THERE IS NO PUBLISHED OPINION THAT WOULD ADEQUATELY ADDRESS THE ISSUE BEFORE THE COURT. OPINIONS CITED FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COURT SHALL BE SET OUT AS AN UNPUBLISHED DECISION IN THE FILED DOCUMENT AND A COPY OF THE ENTIRE DECISION SHALL BE TENDERED ALONG WITH THE DOCUMENT TO THE COURT AND ALL PARTIES TO THE ACTION.

Prior History:  [*1] APPEAL FROM JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT. HONORABLE THOMAS B. WINE, JUDGE. ACTION NO. 00-CI-007964.

CORE TERMS

Packaging, trial court, business record, falsifying, memorandum, summary judgment, bill of lading, Interrogatory, falsification, estoppel, appellant's contention, statute of frauds, instructions, discharged, writings, intent to defraud, appellants', wrongful discharge, pleadings, at-will, amend, erroneous instruction, refuse to permit, sabbatical leave, parol evidence, circumstances, alteration, enterprise, retirement, documents