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Parts of Ex-CFO's Lawsuit Against Sequenom Thrown Out

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A California court has struck down part of a lawsuit filed by Sequenom's former chief financial officer's lawsuit against the company and three of its former executives and directors, the San Diego-based molecular diagnostics firm said last week.

In a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Sequenom said that on Jan. 5, the Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego informed it that the court has granted motions by Sequenom and individual defendants against a lawsuit filed by Paul Hawran during the summer.

The court has removed claims by Hawran alleging "negligent and intentional misrepresentation and negligent and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage" by Sequenom and the individual defendants in the case, current Chairman and CEO Harry Hixson, senior vice president of R&D Ronald Lindsay, and Richard Lerner, a director at the company.

Sequenom added that Hawran's claim against the individual defendants alleging breach of contract was also removed by the court. His allegations that Sequenom breached his contract and his claim of defamation, invasion of privacy, and unfair business practices by the company and the individual defendants remain, however.

Hawran resigned from Sequenom in 2009 as a result of an investigation into mishandled R&D test data in Sequenom's Down syndrome molecular diagnostic program. Along with Hawran's resignation, Harry Stylli, the president and CEO of Sequenom at the time, was fired as a result.

In his lawsuit, Hawran alleged he was asked to resign because of concerns he had raised about the conduct of certain Sequenom directors.

In its SEC document, Sequenom said that the court has denied it and the individual defendants' demurrer. Sequenom and they plan to "vigorously defend ourselves against the remaining claims," the company said.

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