LACONIA — The Laconia Clinic and two physicians who worked for the multi-specialty group practice until recently appear to be close to reaching a settlement in a civil suit, according to court documents.
Doctors Alan Awrich and Adora Maharaj sued the clinic, alleging it illegally withheld their severances, which together amount to $750,000, according to the civil complaint. Awrich retired from his practice of general surgery last fall. Maharaj, an internist, left the clinic last December and is now practicing in Massachusetts.
In a motion to halt the suit, attorney Brian Bedard, who is representing Laconia Clinic PC and and Laconia Clinic Properties LLC, states that both sides have “reached a tentative settlement,” and asked that a conference with the attorneys involved and Judge James D. O’Neill III, which had been scheduled for Sept. 26, be canceled.
The motion, filed on Sept. 19 and granted by O’Neill the follow day, states the doctors currently at the clinic would first have to approve the contingent agreement before an official settlement could be filed with the court. The motion goes on to say that, if a settlement was not reached by this past Monday, either side would be free to proceed with the suit.
Attorney Michael Persson, who represents Awrich and Majarah, had no immediate comment.
A message left at attorney Bedard’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned.
LRGHealthcare spokesman Sandy Marshall said Dr. Arnold Miller, president of the Laconia Clinic, would have no comment.
The clinic sought to have the suit dismissed, but O’Neill ruled on July 27 that Awrich and Maharaj had made a good argument that “Miller’s bad faith [was a] breach of his fiduciary duty,” and therefore the case could proceed.
The suit alleges that Miller acted in bad faith by not announcing beforehand, as required by the clinic’s bylaws, that a meeting of the clinic’s doctors last December would be considering a proposal to freeze the stock-repurchase provision. At a hearing in June, Persson argued that, had Awrich and Maharaj known that was the plan, they would have chosen to sell back their shares before the meeting took place.