Business Ethics Loren Vranich, a doctor practicing under the corporate name Family Health Care, P.C., entered into a written employment contract to hire Dennis Winkel. The contract provided for an annual salary, insurance benefits, and other employment benefits. Another doctor, Dr. Quan, also practiced with Dr. Vranich. About nine months later, when Dr. Quan left the practice, Vranich and Winkel entered into an oral modification of their written contract whereby Winkel was to receive a higher salary and a profit-sharing bonus. During the next year, Winkel received the increased salary. However, a disagreement arose, and Winkel sued to recover the profit-sharing bonus. Under Montana law, a written contract can be altered only in writing or by an executed oral agreement. Dr. Vranich argued that the contract could not be enforced because it was not in writing. Does Winkel receive the profit-sharing bonus? Did Dr. Vranich act ethically in raising the defense that the contract was not in writing? Winkel v. Family Health Care, P.C., 205 Mont. 40, 668 P.2d 208, Web 1983 Mont. Lexis 785 (Supreme Court of Montana) In the matter of Winkel v. Family Health Care P.C., the initial agreement and contract is not in questioned as there was no disagreement and Dr. Winkel proceeded to be employed for a period of at least 9 months. The Offeror of this initial contract was Loren Vranich aka Family Health Care P.C. and the Offeree was Dr. Winkel. A legally enforceable contract was entered into on that date. Yes! Because in the State that this contract is performed under, Winkel is entitled to the profit share bonus. The original written contract states nothing about the raise or profit-share. Unfortunately because FHC went into an oral modification of the written contract which is permitted in the State, FHC must hold to its oral obligation. At a later date after a fellow doctor had left an offer was made to increase Dr. Winkle’s salary and he would be offered a profit sharing...
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