New York (CNN Business)McDonald’s isn’t backing down from its push to claw back millions of dollars in severance pay from its former CEO, Steve Easterbrook.
The fast-food giant said in a court filing Monday that Easterbrook’s motion to dismiss the company’s lawsuit against him should be denied.The filing is the latest in a public fight unfolding between the company and Easterbrook, who was ousted in the fall after the board determined that he’d violated company policy by engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee. “When McDonald’s investigated, Steve Easterbrook lied,” the company said in a statement emailed to CNN Business Monday. “His argument that he should not be held responsible for even repeated bad acts is morally bankrupt and fails under the law.” Easterbrook’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Read MoreEarlier this month, McDonald’s sued Easterbrook, alleging that he lied to internal investigators about the extent of his relationships with employees, and asked that he be forced to return the value of his severance package as a result. Easterbrook was promised 26 weeks of severance pay as part of his exit package last year, which at the time amounted to about $42 million, according to an estimate by outside firm Equilar. Easterbrook’s lawyer in mid-August filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the company must have known about Easterbrook’s other relationships when it fired him because evidence remained on the company’s servers. The company argued in the filing Monday that Easterbrook “fraudulently obtained a termination ‘without cause,'” and breached his fiduciary duties to stockholders. Last week, the company said that its investigation into Easterbrook’s behavior includes whether he covered up the improprieties of other employees. McDonald’s is also investigating allegations of possible misconduct within its human resources department, a spokesperson said last week.