HealthSouth Corp. rejected a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by founder Richard Scrushy, instead offering up a countersuit for more than $76 million.
In a court filing with the Jefferson County Circuit Court in Alabama , the health care company alleges that as chief executive Scrushy attempted to pillage the company of more than $100 million, and having contributed nothing to the company, is owed nothing for his firing in the wake of an accounting scandal. HealthSouth also says that Scrushy was directly responsible for the $2.7 billion earnings overstatement that nearly destroyed the company.
HealthSouth sued for back salary, bonuses and stock awards, and said that it would seek millions of dollars in punitive damages. Scrushy is seeking back pay, along with assistance in footing more than $25 million in legal bills.
Earlier this month, Scrushy announced his resignation from HealthSouth's board before new elections were held, and said that he was not being afforded the same power as other HealthSouth directors.
A jury found Scrushy not guilty of all charges in June, even though five former finance chiefs testified that he was aware of the accounting scheme. Scrushy will face civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2007. The civil suit seeks $786 million in penalties and restitution, and would bar Scrushy from serving as an officer or director at any public company if found guilty.
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