A former Abiomed (NSDQ:ABMD) Asia VP will soon get their day in court, seeking approximately $2.1 million in damages and lost shares, claiming that Abiomed unfairly terminated them and denied a stock option agreement attached to Japanese approval of its Impella line of heart pumps, according to court documents.
Recent updates to the case’s docket indicate that it is slated for a hearing in September, with discovery closing in early June and motions to be filed by August 31, and no further extensions anticipated.
Plaintiff Keisuke Suzuki was hired on in 2010 to help the company pursue Japanese regulatory approval for its Impella line of heart pumps in a deal which included a possible 45,000 shares of the company’s stock dependent upon milestones related to the approval, according to court docs.
Suzuki claims that during his time with the company, it was resistant to his suggestions and recommendations toward achieving approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and Japan’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Agency, and that the process took longer than necessary due to that resistance.
Abiomed was on target to achieve approval of the devices in 2015, having met with the Japanese PMDA and established guidelines for what was necessary for the clearance, Suzuki claimed in court documents.
He claims that after these discussions finished, the company began to give him false negative job performance reviews and sought to lower his position and to “change the terms of his compensation so as to take away his stock rights and future commission rights,” according to court documents.
In June, Suzuki was terminated without cause and without 28-day notice, which he claims violated his employment contract. He also claims he was denied 20,000 shares in the company which he was due based on Japanese approval of the Impella line, which at the time were worth $1.3 million, and were worth approximately $2.1 million at the time of his filing in 2016.
Suzuki is seeking damages related to claimed retaliation from the company, as well as lost wages and share cost.
Abiomed denied all claims made by Suzuki.