Compass is appealing a decision by a New York judge who ordered a jury trial for Avi Dorfman, an entrepreneur who is suing to be recognized as a co-founder of the firm.
In an Oct. 1 ruling, Supreme Court Judge Andrea Masley rejected Compass’ motion for summary judgement and said Dorfman is entitled to a trial. “The record is clear that they exchanged, among other things, emails that set forth offers and counteroffers as to how Dorfman would be compensated as a ‘founding team member,’” Masley wrote. She ordered a trial date to be set within 30 days.
Dorfman sued Compass five years ago, alleging he helped CEO Robert Reffkin work on a concept for Compass but was cut out of the action. He is seeking a stake worth more than $200 million.
Compass has called Dorfman’s suit opportunistic. In its motion for summary judgement, it argued that Dorfman “spurned multiple offers” to work for Compass, which was valued at $6.4 billion following its most recent funding round.
“Dorfman now seeks a do-over of that decision, claiming he should be awarded tens of millions of dollars in equity in Compass far in excess of what he could have earned if he had actually chosen to join that venture,” Compass wrote.
The New York-based brokerage has been distancing itself from WeWork in the wake of the company’s failed IPO. Both are backed by SoftBank and were boosted by high valuations despite questions about profitability.