TIMOTHY T. BRADSHAW, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
CEDAR RAPIDS AIRPORT COMMISSION, Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Kevin McKeever,
appeals and employer cross-appeals from summary judgment
ruling in breach of contract action. AFFIRMED ON APPEAL;
REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS ON CROSS
J. Reilly of Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C., Cedar
Rapids, for appellant.
Benjamin P. Roach of Nyemaster Goode, P.C., Des Moines, for
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
Bradshaw sued his former employer, the Cedar Rapids Airport
Commission, for breach of contract. Bradshaw contended the
Commission owed him severance pay pursuant to an employment
agreement. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the
district court held Bradshaw was not entitled to severance
pay but was entitled to compensation for an additional month
of service. Bradshaw appeals, contending the district court
erred in holding
was not entitled to contractual severance pay. The Commission
cross-appeals, contending the district court erred in holding
Bradshaw was entitled to additional compensation.
served as the Airport Director for the Eastern Iowa Airport.
The airport is owned by the City of Cedar Rapids and operated
by the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission. In 2012, Bradshaw and
the Commission entered into an amended employment agreement.
provisions of the agreement are relevant to this appeal.
Paragraph 1 of the agreement sets forth the general terms of
The Commission hereby employs Bradshaw for an indefinite term
as Airport Director effective as of June 28, 2012. . . . Such
employment shall end upon Bradshaw's resignation, death
or termination for any reason by the Commission. Should
Bradshaw voluntarily resign his employment prior to contract
expiration, his notice of resignation shall be tendered to
the Commission no less than [thirty] days prior to his
departure date in order to assure his status as resigning in
good standing. Nothing in this Amended Agreement shall be
deemed to prevent or limit the right of the Commission to
determine that Bradshaw shall no longer serve as Airport
Director, subject to provisions of Paragraph 3 of this
3 of the agreement provides for severance pay:
In the event Bradshaw is involuntarily terminated by the
Commission for any reason other than his death, conviction of
a felony, aggravated misdemeanor, or any public offense
involving corruption, extortion, willful misconduct,
maladministration in office, willful or habitual neglect, or
refusal to perform the duties of office, he shall receive
severance pay in the amount of twelve months' salary in
effect at the time of Bradshaw's
termination. Such severance pay shall be paid to
Bradshaw, at his election, either in one lump sum within
thirty (30) days of his effective date of termination [sic].
Provided however that in the event the Commission terminates
Bradshaw's employment on the basis of willful or habitual
neglect, or refusal to perform the duties of office, in order
to avoid payment of severance pay, the Commission must have
first provided written notice of such basis and provided
Bradshaw a reasonable opportunity to correct such basis.
paragraph 13 of the agreement provides the agreement
"represents the full and complete understanding and
agreement of the parties."
circumstances surrounding the cessation of Bradshaw's
employment are not in dispute. On September 2, 2014, Bradshaw
informed two commissioners he had a pending job offer.
Bradshaw requested a salary increase, and he informed some of
the commissioners he would resign if the increase was not
approved. The commissioners informed Bradshaw they did not
have the authority to approve a salary increase without a
vote of the full commission and, in any event, they would not
recommend a salary increase.
September 3, Bradshaw emailed his resignation to the
Commission. The email stated, "After careful
consideration, I have decided to resign my position here at
the Eastern Iowa Airport." The email went on to say,
"My last date of employment will be November 3, 2014. Of
course I will be ...