M. Lee Pearce, the dissident shareholder sued last month by Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., has fired back with counterclaims against the company. Pearce filed a 40-page response yesterday to Tenet's suit in U.S. District Court, Los Angeles. In its lawsuit, Tenet contends that Pearce's public statements against the company constitute a "proxy solicitation" campaign -- seeking the votes of shareholders to change the makeup of Tenet's board and management. Tenet accuses Pearce of violating securities laws since he has not filed the necessary papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission to wage a proxy solicitation. In his response, Pearce turned the tables and accused Tenet of using the lawsuit against him as part of an unregistered solicitation and, more broadly, as part of a campaign to silence Pearce. The 72-year-old physician also accused Tenet of moving up the date of its annual meeting to July 23 from Oct. 8 to stifle attempts by Pearce or others to change the board's makeup. A Tenet spokesman said the company had no comment beyond its lawsuit. -- by Vince Galloro
Shareholder accuses Tenet of seeking to silence him
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