A U.S. District Court in Washington has turned down a request from Bruce Schobel asking it to reinstate him as president-elect of the American Academy of Actuaries.
The ruling, by District Judge Emmet Sullivan, holds that Schobel has not shown “a substantial likelihood of success” for his claim that the board of the AAA, Washington, acted improperly when it voted to strip him of his position as president-elect.
An injunction is “an extraordinary remedy” that should be granted only when the party requesting relief clearly demonstrates harm, Sullivan said, citing previous court rulings.
Sullivan set a hearing for Oct. 15 for further proceedings in the case but asked both sides to come to terms over the dispute.
“It’s a case that cries out for settlement,” Sullivan writes in the ruling. “But the parties haven’t seen fit to settle it, and that’s fine. Then I’ll settle it and let the chips fall where they may.”
Sullivan expressed sympathy for Schobel over the way he was removed form office, but he says, “The court must agree with the defendant that the board’s actions, however disagreeable and arguably disgusting, did not appear to be prohibited” either by Illinois law or the AAA’s own bylaws.
Schobel is seeking an award of more than $2 million on grounds he was defamed by the board.
He sued the AAA after its board voted Aug. 5 to oust him. Schobel originally had been scheduled set to take over as president of the organization Oct. 26.
The board voted, 17-9 with one abstention, to remove Schobel at the request of 19 former AAA presidents, according to papers filed with the court. Those officials had petitioned the board to remove Schobel in an e-mail sent to board members July 9. The officials questioned Schobel’s suitability to serve as president, according to court filings.
Commenting on the court’s refusal to issue a temporary injunction, AAA spokesman Andrew Simonelli says the academy is “generally pleased with the court’s decision.”
In a statement posted on its Web site, the AAA says it believes the board’s decision to remove Schobel is “both valid and in the best interest of the organization.”