Anderson, who began his 30-plus-year career as an entry-level service adviser, joined Jerry Durant Auto Group as a used-vehicle manager in 2001. "During the course of his decadelong tenure with the company, Anderson's career flourished," the Supreme Court said in an opinion written by Justice Eva Guzman.
In 2006, Anderson was promoted to general manager of the group's Chevrolet store in Weatherford and appointed to the board of directors, according to court filings.
Anderson's suit claimed that Jerry Durant offered him the chance to buy into the business in February 2011 in exchange for taking over management of the group's "underperforming" Toyota and Hyundai stores in Granbury, Texas. That would be "the fulfillment of a lifelong goal," he said in a court filing.
But, as the Supreme Court concluded, "the buy-in agreement was never reduced to writing, and as often happens in such cases, the terms of the deal are disputed."
Anderson asserted that Durant offered him 10 percent ownership of both Granbury dealerships and associated real estate interests. The dealership group countered that Durant's offer applied to only the Hyundai dealership and was contingent on the store earning a $400,000 net profit despite a $250,000 loss the previous year, a target it failed to achieve.
Durant told Automotive News that he gave a written offer to Anderson but Anderson never signed it, unlike two other general managers who received similar offers and did sign them.
Regardless of the specific terms that the sides believed they'd agreed to, Anderson assumed management of the Granbury Toyota and Hyundai dealerships.
The dealership group's marketing materials and press release at the time described him as a "partner/principal" and said, "Good fortune comes to those who work for it. No one understands that better than Andrew Anderson. We want our new Granbury division to provide exceptional automotive service, and Anderson is the right man to achieve that goal."
In legal papers, Anderson said after he took over management in Granbury, "there was 'significant improvement' " in the stores' performance, and "focusing strictly on used-car operations, the Granbury dealerships were the only Durant dealerships to generate net income in 2011."