ABBOTT, SCHOELLHORN ATTORNEYS WILL MEET JUNE 14
ABBOTT, SCHOELLHORN ATTORNEYS WILL MEET JUNE 14 to argue an Abbott motion to dismiss the complaint brought by ex-chairman Schoellhorn. The former Abbott exec filed a "wrongful firing" suit on March 9 after the company removed him from his position as chairman of the board. Abbott filed the motion to dismiss on April 6. "This complaint is a cry of wounded vanity, not a cognizable cause of action in Illinois," Abbott charged in the dismissal motion, filed with Judge Anthony Scotillo at the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago. The motion challenges all four counts in the complaint. For example, the motion says Schoellhorn seeks reinstatement as chairman on the grounds that a Dec. 8 resolution reducing his powers was "improper." Abbott argued that because the count does not challenge the March 9 board action that actually terminated him, the count should be dismissed. The remaining three counts involve an alleged agreement that Abbott would employ Schoellhorn until he reaches retirement age at 65. Schoellhorn is now 61. The dismissal motion argues that: "First, the only 'contract' alleged in Count II is a purported oral agreement to employ Schoellhorn for four more years, until he is 65. But the complaint fails to allege a single term of the alleged agreement other than its four year duration." Moreover, Abbott argues that "this fragmentary promise -- even if it had been made -- would not rise to the level of a contract." Abbott plans to argue that under the Illinois Statute of Frauds, an oral contract is only enforceable if it is "performable" within one year. Just prior to the April 4 hearing, Abbott filed a motion charging Schoellhorn with six counts of misappropriation of funds, fraud and abuse of power. At the hearing, the court partially dissolved a temporary restraining order, allowing Abbott to officially terminate Schoellhorn without ruling on the issue of cause ("The Pink Sheet" April 9, T&G-6). If Abbott is eventually successful in arguing that the company fired Schoellhorn "for cause," the former executive will be forced to forfeit 51,000 shares of restricted stock, now frozen pending further court actions.
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