Starkey Laboratories petitioned the Hennepin County District Court on Monday to dismiss all counts of a recent wrongful termination lawsuit filed by one of six former executives fired last month.
In the motion filed Monday, attorneys for the Starkey hearing aid giant asked the court to dismiss all claims by Keith Guggenberger, the former Starkey vice president of operations who was fired along with Starkey President Jerry Ruzicka; Chief Financial Officer Scott Nelson; Larry Miller, senior vice president of human resources; Susan Good, chief medical officer; and Jeff Longtain, president of Starkey's Oregon-based Northland Hearing Centers.
Guggenberger's Sept. 30 lawsuit alleged that the executive firings (and the additional firing of executive assistants Julie Miller and Kim Mohlis) were motivated by Starkey CEO Bill Austin's efforts to retaliate after Ruzicka refused to promote Austin's stepson. Additionally, Ruzicka began making plans to start a new company after his employment contract ended at the end of the year. Ruzicka had been with Eden Prairie-based Starkey for 38 years.
Guggenberger, with Starkey for 29 years, claimed he had done nothing wrong, had a 13-year contract with Starkey and was owed nearly $11 million in wages and benefits.
In response to Guggenberger's demands, Starkey attorneys from Henson & Efron asked the court "for an order striking portions" of Guggenberger's complaint, which they claimed included "immaterial, impertinent and scandalous matters."
They also asked the court to dismiss the special damages Guggenberger sought because that claim lacked "specificity." Lastly, they asked the court to throw out Guggenberger's claim that Starkey Laboratories was receiving "unjust enrichment" by denying him the wages and bonuses.
A hearing is set for Jan. 11. Guggenberger could not be reached for comment.