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Monday, April 21, 2014

Ex-UMDA CEO Wickline moves lawsuit to fed court

David L. Wickline, the former president and CEO of the United Micronesia Development Association Inc., has moved to the federal court a lawsuit the UMDA recently filed against him in the Superior Court.

Wickline, through counsel Colin M. Thompson, filed on Monday a notice of removal in the U.S. District Court for the NMI.

Thompson said that Wickline, who is now based in Occidental, California, received a copy of UMDA’s complaint and summons last Jan. 14.

Thompson said this lawsuit may be removed to a federal court in that it is a civil action between citizens of different “states” and the matter in controversy exceeds $75,000.

Wickline served as the president and CEO of UMDA from 2010 to 2013. He also served those years as a member of the UMDA board of directors.

Thompson said the complaint alleges that Wickline “claims to be entitled to $400,000 in severance pay, $170,000 in unpaid housing allowance, and approximately $30,000 in medical expenses.”

The lawyer said the complaint also alleges that his client claims to be entitled to $5,437,500 worth of stock options for shares of stock in UMDA, which the latter gave him in October 2010.

Thompson said the complaint alleges that Wickline has no right to additional compensation and has no right to UMDA stock options.

“Accordingly, the matter in controversy exceeds $75,000,” he pointed out.

In the lawsuit, UMDA seeks damages from Wickline for unlawful conduct and asks the court to declare various claims asserted by the defendant to be meritless.

UMDA filed the lawsuit after the company and Wickline were unable to resolve their disputes through mediation.

UMDA board chair Jose Lifoifoi stated in a previous press statement that the board was dissatisfied with Wickline’s performance as CEO so he was fired and the shareholders decided not to re-elect him to the board.

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