Children of late physician sue developer of biopharmaceutical products over stock options

By Gene Johnson | Oct 22, 2015

The children of a late professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine is suing to get control over 10,000 shares of Opko Health Inc. stock that the company claims they have no ownership due to not claiming the shares within a year of their father’s death.

Jaime Gewirtz and Emily Gewirtz Stiebel filed a lawsuit against Opko Health Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Aug. 6, citing breach of fiduciary duty.

According to the complaint, when Dr. Alan Gewirtz died in November 2010, his brother, Elliott, became the executor of his estate and the owner of certain Opko shares and share options. The executor, according the lawsuit, informed Opko in early 2011 of the death and instructed them to change the name of the holder of the shares.

The executor sought to redeem the options, but Opka refused, the lawsuit states, claiming that the options expired according to their terms, because they were not redeemed within one year of Gewirtz’s death.

Gerwirtz’s children are seeking an injunction of Opka’s action, freeing up the options to be redeemed, and is asking the court to order Opka to honor and redeem their 10,378 options. Jaime Gewirtz and Emily Gewirtz Stiebel are represented by Philadelphia-based Stephen H. Schwartz of Kohn, Swift & Graf P.C.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 2:15-cv-04352-LFR

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