Trials & Litigation

BigLaw firm sues Missouri for alleged failure to pay full incentives for jobs it created

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Littler Mendelson has filed a lawsuit claiming the state of Missouri failed to pay promised incentives for the jobs the law firm created when it located its new global services center in Kansas City in 2015.

The suit, filed against the Missouri Department of Economic Development, says the state wrongly plans to withhold $1.5 million in tax credits over a three-year period, the Kansas City Star reports.

Littler says the state promised $14 million in total incentives, and the law firm met its obligations to the state with employment of 300 full-time workers last year.

At issue in the dispute is the number of jobs Littler promised to create. Missouri says Littler promised to create 476 total jobs, while Littler says it committed to creating only 270 new jobs.

Littler’s lawsuit refers to two notices of intent, according to the Kansas City Star coverage. One is for 270 jobs and another is for a possible future expansion of 200 jobs.

The state provided the Kansas City Star with an October 2014 letter that references the letter of intent but calls for the creation of 476 full-time jobs within four years.

A signed 2015 agreement calls for creation of 275 jobs and $8.9 million in state benefits, as well as creation of 201 jobs and about $5 million in incentives, according to the Star.

Maggie Kost, a spokesperson for the economic development department, told the Star the state was entitled to reduce the benefits because Littler didn’t fulfill its jobs promise. “Missouri’s incentive programs are designed for this exact scenario, to ensure that companies keep their commitments or they can’t receive benefits,” Kost said.

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