Fired MetroHealth CEO wants successor to testify in defamation case

Akram Boutros, MD, former CEO of Cleveland-based MetroHealth, is seeking a court order to have his successor sit for a disposition, according to Cuyahoga County Court records. 

Dr. Boutros was fired in November after MetroHealth board members said that between 2018 and 2022, he set goals for himself, evaluated himself against those goals and authorized more than $1.9 million in supplemental bonuses for himself without disclosure to the board. Dr. Boutros, who planned to retire at the end of 2022, alleges board retaliation and denies wrongdoing. In a lawsuit filed against the health system, he argues that his termination and the subsequent statement released by MetroHealth destroyed his reputation and eliminated his future employment prospects. 

His attorney argued in the Sept. 21 court filing that shortly after his firing, the health system's current CEO, Airica Steed, EdD, RN, "personally made and endorsed defamatory statements about matters" covered by Dr. Boutros' lawsuit against the health system and was personally involved in decision-making that damaged him. 

According to an Aug. 12 email attached to Dr. Boutros' court filing, an attorney for Dr. Steed argued that she has "no relevant knowledge in this litigation and we regard your belated attempt to depose her as simple harassment. 

"Let me be very clear: we have no intention of allowing you to depose Dr. Steed absent a court order, and we will oppose any efforts on your part to obtain one." 

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