Posted Dec 19, 2012 10:21 pm CST
A federal lawsuit has been filed by 31 former clients of the John O’Quinn law firm in Texas, contending that what they describe as a “silicosis litigation machine” took unauthorized and excessive expenses from their settlement money.
Quinn died in a sports-utility vehicle accident in 2009, but his estate is among the defendants, along with his former partner, Richard Laminack, and some law firms that referred clients to the O’Quinn firm, reports Courthouse News.
It alleges that clients were charged for improper referral fees paid to non-lawyers, “free” silicosis screenings and law office overhead expenses, such as a client database, that were not their responsibility, as well as luxurious meals for which the tab sometimes ran to $1,000, including $100 bottles of wine and expensive cigars.
It also claims the law firm responded to earlier client litigation by altering and destroying documents in its files, Courthouse News reports. Its article doesn’t include any comment from the defendants, but On the Case says Laminack, who split with O’Quinn more than five years ago and is now with Laminack Pirtle & Martines, called the suit’s allegations “ludicrous.”
Laminack contended that the case reiterates unsuccessful claims made in ongoing Texas probate court litigation and called its allegations an “attempt to breathe life into a case that has not gone well and certainly does not change the facts.”
He did not comment specifically on the allegations made in the new suit, which asserts claims for alleged negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, deceptive trade practices and fraud. It seeks an accounting, actual damages, treble damages and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and costs, as well as forfeiture of previously earned legal fees for what the suit describes as intentional breach of fiduciary duty, ethics rules and criminal law and barratry.
The plaintiffs are represented by Houston attorney Lance Kassab.
ABAJournal.com: “Prominent Houston Lawyer John O’Quinn Dies in SUV Accident”
ABAJournal.com: “Attorney O’Quinn’s Estate OKs $46M Settlement With Former Clients”
ABAJournal.com: “Attorney John O’Quinn’s Museum-Quality Cars to Be Auctioned to Pay Some $50M in Debts”
ABAJournal.com: “Law Firm and Estate of John M. O’Quinn Sue Houston Lawyer Over Alleged $1.5M Investment”