The AMA has failed to convince an Illinois judge to dismiss a charge in a lawsuit against the group by its former executive vice president, E. Ratcliffe Anderson, M.D., according to Anderson's attorney.
Cook County Circuit Judge Paddy McNamara on Thursday denied the AMA's motion to dismiss a charge that the group fired Anderson because he was blowing the whistle on top AMA officials over two actions, according to a release on Friday from the attorney, Milwaukee-based Charles Pautsch.
The two actions were the Chicago-based organization's co-branding agreement with Sunbeam Corp. and its sale of a downtown Chicago property to developers, according to the lawsuit, which was originally filed in June 2001, 10 days before Anderson was discharged.
An AMA spokesperson was unavailable for comment. But an AMA release from April, when Anderson filed new charges against the organization, says the lawsuit is "entirely without merit" and "the AMA will continue to be vigilant in its defense and remains confident that all claims in the case will be resolved in the AMA's favor."
Anderson's lawsuit charges that, contrary to AMA board members' claims, the board had prior knowledge of the Sunbeam arrangement. It says each board member had received a memorandum about it before the deal was signed.
The Sunbeam deal took place before Anderson was hired, but the suit says the board stopped Anderson from firing AMA attorney Mike Ile, because Ile allegedly knew their role in the Sunbeam deal. Ile co-authored an internal investigation that concluded that the board had no knowledge of the deal.
Anderson says he had wanted to fire Ile because the attorney allegedly mishandled a real estate sale by agreeing to a price that was millions of dollars below market value.
The lawsuit also names three AMA board members at the time. Its other charges include breach of contract, retaliatory discharge and intentional interference with contract.
Pautsch says a trial is expected in summer or fall of 2004.