The two former Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. executives who were blamed for the troubles at the company’s motorhome operation have sued Fleetwood for damages.

Richard E. “Dick” Parks, former head of the Fleetwood RV Group, and John R. Weiss, former vice president of the motorhome operation, filed their lawsuit in Riverside County (Calif.) Superior Court last week, according to the Press-Enterprise newspaper of Riverside.

Parks and Weiss claim they were fired effective last July 30 without good cause and they are seeking severance pay and other benefits.

An attorney representing Fleetwood said the company will “defend itself vigorously,” according to the Press-Enterprise.

Parks and Weiss contend, in court documents their attorneys filed, that they were not warned their jobs were in jeopardy. Prior to last year, they stated they were given good performance reviews, frequent promotions and credit for much of the success of Fleetwood’s RV operation.

The former executives contend they were let go so
Fleetwood could save money during the RV industry’s current cyclical downturn.

The court papers filed by attorneys for Parks and Weiss also included a letter written by former Fleetwood general counsel William Lear, who has since retired. In his letter, Lear wrote that Parks and Weiss were terminated for “substantial” performance failures, according to the newspaper.

The problems included a decline in Class A and Class C motorhome retail market share, which was over 30% for much of the 1990s, but which fell to 21.5% during 2000, according to market research firm Statistical Surveys Inc.

Lear also stated in his letter that Parks and Weiss are “good people with good track records of past performance,” but that their more recent performance failures led to their dismissals.