UPDATED — Physician Eustaquio Abay II has filed a lawsuit against Abay Neuroscience Center, the practice he founded in 1986 and renamed in 1996 in honor of his parents.
“Dr. Abay built the practice, but the other members forced him out by reducing his compensation wrongfully,” says Abay’s attorney, Jay Fowler of Foulston Siefkin.
“The practical effect is the other physicians made a lot more money, and Dr. Abay made next to nothing.”
Abay, who filed his lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court last week, left the practice to start a new one in June.
“We did not force him out of the practice,” says Jeff Spahn, a Martin Pringle attorney representing the remaining partners at Abay Neuroscience Center.
“That was his decision to leave the practice.”
Spahn says Abay was paid what he was owed.
“I don’t know what Jay’s definition of nothing is, but he was paid a significant amount of money, and Jay knows better than that,” Spahn says. “At least I would regard it as a significant amount of money.”
Fowler says the issue relates to Abay’s commitment to public service and charity care.
“Those activities don’t generate money,” Fowler says.
He thinks that’s the problem.
“We think it’s just about money.”
Spahn says Abay agreed to what he was making.
“That’s what we don’t quite understand in the case,” he says.
According to the lawsuit, Abay was to be paid $425,000 in guaranteed compensation, which was half of what other neurosurgeons in the practice were making.
In addition, Abay was to earn more through an incentive bonus compensation formula.
The suit contends Abay’s partners instructed their accountant to disregard the guaranteed compensation.
The result, the suit says, is other doctors made substantially more than $1 million annually while Abay made far less.
Abay is asking for compensatory damages of at least $1.7 million for breach of contract.
He’s also asking for further compensatory damages because he contends his former practice disseminated misleading or false information to patients about where or whether he was still practicing.
Spahn says that as manager of the group, Abay was responsible for ensuring contracts were followed and expenses were paid.
“It’s unfortunate that he decided to file a suit or wants to do this in the media, but we will defend the case.”