Four sue supply firm owner, alleging fraud, contract breach

October 08, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

Four former employees of a Columbia medical supply company have sued its owner, contending that he cut them out of commissions and a profit-sharing agreement.

The suit, filed in Howard Circuit Court Oct. 2, names the defendant as Walter Weems, operator of Columbia Medical, 9515 Gerwig Lane, in the Village of Owen Brown.

The plaintiffs are seeking $3.5 million in damages, alleging fraud and breach of contract. Three of the plaintiffs are John Gebhardt of Warrenton, Va., Sandy Melago of Crofton, and Lori Robideaux of Baltimore. All three were sales representatives for Columbia Medical.

A fourth plaintiff, Terry Reno of Annapolis, says she helped Mr. Weems form the medical supply company in March 1984, initially working out of her home.

Mr. Weems promised Ms. Reno a 10 percent interest in the business plus a small salary, the suit says. As the business grew each year, Mr. Weems repeated that Ms. Reno would become part-owner.

Mr. Weems could not be reached for comment.

After working for Columbia Medical for more than seven years without receiving a share in the business, Ms. Reno quit in November 1991, the suit says.

"Even after Terry Reno spent more than eight years of working up to 60 hours per week, Walter Weems still had not conveyed any interest in the business," the suit says.

Ms. Reno contends in the suit that Columbia Medical's gross proceeds exceeded $5 million while she worked at the company. Company profits in 1991 totaled $2 million, the suit says.

Ms. Reno is seeking $2 million in damages. Mr. Gebhardt is asking $3,080 in unpaid commissions and $500,000 in damages, the suit says.

Ms. Robideaux is seeking $2,500 in unpaid commissions and $500,000 in damages. Ms. Melago is seeking $1,500 in unpaid commissions and $500,000 in damages.

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