Former Heinz CEO responds to ex-nurse's lawsuit demanding millions

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An ex-chairman and CEO of H.J. Heinz Co., accused in a lawsuit of ripping off his former personal nurse to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, answered the allegations in a court filing today.

Anthony J.F. O'Reilly, through a motion to dismiss filed by attorney Kevin P. Lucas, said accusations by Sabina Vidunas "not merely strain, but explode and entirely destroy, the bounds of plausibility."

Mr. O'Reilly's attorney summarized her lawsuit as alleging that she was "promised more than $26 million" over the course of her decade-plus employment. The motion to dismiss characterized that as "more than 130 times her alleged and very substantial $200,000 annual salary" during the last years of her employment, and much more than the $1.4 million she actually received.

The motion also challenged the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds, noting that Mr. O'Reilly lives in Ireland and France, as well as on statute of limitations grounds, claiming that the former CEO and the nurse haven't spoken since 2009.

Ms. Vidunas sued in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, saying her nursing duties expanded to personal scheduling as well as "duties which were unsavory" and "repugnant."

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and violation of wage payment and collection laws, and demands lost wages, promised stock, penalties of 25 percent of their value and attorney fees.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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