Chief executive and international director file claims for a total of £170 000 for wrongful dismissal after being voted out in boardroom putsch.
Two main directors of MDA who were voted out in a boardroom coup last month have each filed a claim at the High Court for £85 000 in damages.

Former chief executive Richard Houghton and ex-international director Ken Edmonds claim that their dismissals were “wrongful and unlawful” because they were not given 12 months’ notice before their contracts were terminated.

Houghton and Edmonds were voted out at a boardroom meeting on 30 March. Both claims, which were filed by their lawyer Simmons & Simmons on 4 May, describe the meeting as being convened “ostensibly to discuss the defendant’s [MDA’s] future”.

At the time, MDA had recently been through abortive talks with support services company High-Point Rendel.

The claims continue: “At the meeting, [each] claimant was asked to resign as a director but refused to do so. The claimant’s employment was then terminated with immediate effect by Mr Simon Metcalf, the defendant’s chairman, and confirmed by a letter dated 30 March …”

MDA is now headed by former non-executive directors Metcalf and John Castle.

Houghton, who had been a director of MDA since 1 July 1992, and chief executive since 1 July 1997, is claiming £84 882.32. Edmonds is claiming £85 080.11.

Edmonds had been an executive director since 14 August 1989. His claim also states that: “Since the dismissal the claimant has undergone surgery and to date has not been able to take reasonable steps to mitigate his loss.”

The claims detail both directors’ salaries and benefits. Houghton received a fixed salary of £85 000 with a possible £22 000 bonus from “earnings at risk”. Edmonds received £71 000, with up to £18 000 from the same scheme.

Both also received other benefits, including hotel and travel expenses and company cars.

In their claims, Houghton and Edmonds said they performed their duties under their contracts of employment “lawfully and faithfully”.

MDA was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. It must now consider its formal response to the claims.