Percussionaire resolves suit against firm’s former director

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SANDPOINT — Counsel for the former president and managing director of Percussionaire is moving to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Sagle-based medical equipment manufacturer of withholding his salary and failing to repay a loan he made to the company.

Joseph Todd Reuter, counsel for Dr. Loel Fenwick, moved for the dismissal under an Idaho civil court rule due to inactivity in the case. Counsel for Percussionaire stipulated to the dismissal on Monday, documents in 1st District Court records indicate.

Fenwick alleged in the suit that he began serving as the company’s director and general manager in 2013, but deferred his $15,000 per month salary as the company became embroiled in a legal dispute with the its former CEO, Dr. Adel Bougatef, who was accused of trying to hijack and force Percussionaire out of business so he could start a competing company.

Percussionaire’s lawsuit against Bougatef was ultimately settled, although the terms of the settlement were shrouded from public view.

Percussionaire was founded by Dr. Forrest Morten Bird, who died in 2015. Bird’s widow, Dr. Pamela Riddle Bird, was presumably killed in a plane crash on Round Top Mountain near Hope several months after her husband died. Her remains were never recovered, although National Transportation Safety Board officials said her remains were likely destroyed in an post-crash fire that destroyed much of the plane.

The crash that killed Pam Bird also killed two passengers, the remains of whom were recovered. Mechanical failure was ruled out in the crash and NTSB officials concluded that pilot error was at fault in the October 15 crash.

Pam Bird was believed to be at the controls when her Cessna struck the mountainside, although her co-pilot could have also been steering the plane, according to the NTSB investigation.

In addition to deferring his salary during the court saga, Fenwick alleged that the company also owed him for a series of loans totaling $275,000.

Percussionaire’s corporate counsel countered that Fenwick offered his services gratis, but acknowledged that company accepted loans from Fenwick and pledged to repay them.

Percussionair’s counsel, Sandpoint attorney Ford Elsaesser, said the terms of the settlement with Fenwick were not being disclosed.

“The disputes related to this matter were settled a few months ago under terms that are strictly confidential,” Elsaesser said.

Fenwick declined to comment on the resolution of the case.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached at and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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