In a statement released Tuesday, the Board of the American Medical Association announced that its executive vice president and CEO had filed a lawsuit against the organization, claiming the board exceeded its authority when it prevented him from firing the AMA's general counsel as a result of dissatisfaction with the handling of the sale of some AMA real estate. The AMA Board's statement follows:

The Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association has just learned that E. Ratcliffe Anderson, Jr., MD, its executive vice president and chief executive officer, has filed a lawsuit against the AMA. In that lawsuit, Dr. Anderson alleges that his employment responsibilities had been diminished in violation of his employment agreement, resulting in what Dr. Anderson claims was a constructive discharge of his AMA employment.

In addition to his contract claims, Dr. Anderson also has sued Timothy Flaherty, MD, the AMA Chair-Elect, claiming that Dr. Flaherty had defamed him.

The AMA Board of Trustees, after reviewing the complaint with its legal counsel, is confident that the lawsuit is frivolous. The Board intends to vigorously defend against Dr. Anderson’s claims. Dr. Anderson remains the EVP/CEO of the AMA.

Prior to filing his lawsuit, Dr. Anderson had made significant monetary demands on the Board, offering to forego litigation and resign from his employment. The Board, completely confident that it had not violated Dr. Anderson’s rights, rejected Dr. Anderson’s settlement demands.

The Board finds it disturbing that, although the matters alleged in Dr. Anderson’s complaint had occurred months ago, Dr. Anderson first notified the Board about his concerns on June 13, 2001, and chose to file his lawsuit during the middle of the AMA’s House of Delegates meeting, only after insisting that absent reaching a settlement with the Board by June 18, he would file his lawsuit.

The AMA, of course, will continue to ensure that all operational and administrative programs run smoothly. The AMA continues to advance its various advocacy and public health agendas on all fronts as aggressively as possible – both in Washington and on the floor of the House of Delegates.

Many important issues face physicians and their patients, and our focus and energy are on helping this House address those challenges and advancing the core purpose of the AMA.