MetroHealth responds to Akram Boutros’ 2nd lawsuit


In its latest court filing, the MetroHealth System restated its position that its former president and CEO Dr. Akram Boutros had no authority to award himself $1.9 million in bonuses over four years.

“He had no such authority under Ohio law (including the Ohio Ethics Laws), under (MetroHealth) board policy, or under common sense,” the court record, filed Friday, Feb. 17, states.

Related: MetroHealth board fires CEO Dr. Akram Boutros

The filing was MetroHealth’s response to one of the lawsuits Boutros filed in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court late last year, after the MetroHealth board dismissed him, citing the unauthorized bonuses. Boutros repaid the the system with interest and self-reported to the Ohio Ethics Commission.

In the suit, Boutros claimed defamation of character, wrongful termination and breach of contract. The system’s answer asks the court to dismiss the complaint and offers a number of additional defenses, including that “all decisions made with respect to his employment were made for legitimate and non-retaliatory reasons.”

It further states, “Plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed, in whole and in part, because plaintiff engaged in fraud.”

Boutros has filed three legal challenges. The first lawsuit, which MetroHealth responded to in late January, alleged that his termination was retaliatory for raising concerns about board’s conduct in hiring his successor, including alleged open meetings law violations.

MetroHealth denied these allegations and in its Jan. 30 response to the first lawsuit wrote, “It is only now, after the board terminated Dr. Boutros’ employment for cause for awarding himself over $1.9 million in unauthorized bonuses, that Dr. Boutros attempts to deflect from his own conduct by creating false stories of retaliation.”

Separately, the third legal challenge, in which Boutros filed an administrative appeal to his firing, was dismissed on Friday by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John P. O’Donnell.

In the second suit, filed in mid-December, Boutros claimed the board’s actions cost him $8 million in lost compensation and severance, $20 million in harm to future job prospects and “additional tens of millions more” in damage to his reputation.

In Friday’s response, the system said “Dr. Boutros was terminated for cause for, among other things, acts of dishonesty in awarding himself compensation that was not approved by the (MetroHealth) board.”

Boutros has maintained that the board of trustees approved the program through which he received the payments and was aware that he was included. In its answer, MetroHealth denies “any and all suggestions that Dr. Boutros revealed that he was overcompensating himself or that defendants knew of the same.”

In a prepared statement provided to, Boutros’ attorney Jason Bristol, of Cohen Rosenthal & Kramer, said: “The MetroHealth board of trustees approved the bonus program. They knew the CEO was included in the program. They approved the bonus payments for all 200 eligible employees every year. … all of this information, including Dr. Boutros’s bonus payments, are, and have always been a matter of public record, readily available from MetroHealth upon request.”


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