Judge dismisses Dr. Akram Boutros' challenge to firing from MetroHealth

A Cuyahoga County judge has dismissed a challenge by the former CEO of Cleveland-based MetroHealth related to his November firing, Law360 reported Feb. 22.

The judge did not give any written reason for the decision, according to the report. Akram Boutros, MD, filed an administrative appeal in December and multiple lawsuits following his Nov. 21 firing by the MetroHealth Board of Trustees. The two lawsuits remain pending. 

Dr. Boutros was seeking reinstatement, bringing a challenge from a state law that covers final decisions that arise from quasi-judicial proceedings, according to the report. The health system board argued that it did not hold such a proceeding because he was not entitled to one as an at-will, unclassified civil service employee.

An attorney for MetroHealth told Law360 in an email that Dr. Boutros' decision to file an appeal "was simply inappropriate for this matter. It should never have been filed."

Jason Bristol, attorney for Dr. Boutros, told Becker's that the appeal had been filed for strategic reasons and "those reasons have been satisfied." 

Dr. Boutros filed a lawsuit Nov. 28 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court after he was fired, alleging violations of Ohio's Open Meetings Act and the board bylaws. Dr. Boutros also alleges board retaliation and accuses the MetroHealth board of violating the law in its hiring of the health system's current president and CEO, Airica Steed, EdD, RN. Additionally, the lawsuit asks the court to nullify Dr. Boutros' termination for cause.

Dr. Boutros filed a separate lawsuit against the health system in December alleging breach of contract.

Dr. Boutros was fired after MetroHealth board members say 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. 

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