Malpractice Plaintiff Wins $103M Verdict Against Baker & McKenzie
Posted Oct 26, 2010 6:12 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A former client has won a $103 million malpractice verdict against Baker & McKenzie and one of its Dallas lawyers.
S. Lavon Evans Jr. had claimed in his Mississippi lawsuit that the law firm had represented him at the same time it represented his partner in an oil-rig drilling business, the Chicago Tribune reports. The suit says Evans was unaware that his partner was insolvent and was using Evans’ assets to obtain millions of dollars in loans. Mississippi Litigation Review and Commentary had early news of the verdict.
The Tribune has details of the suit. The complaint claims Baker and its Dallas senior counsel Joel Held drafted legal documents creating subsidiaries of the oil-drilling company in Evans’ name, but controlled by his partner, all without Evans’ knowledge. When an accounting review revealed that the partner was insolvent, Evans says, he tried to dissolve the business. But his partner fought back, with the help of Baker & McKenzie, the suit says, devising "a litigation strategy to bring Evans to his knees."
Baker & McKenzie released a statement to the Tribune saying it strongly disagreed with the verdict. "We are confident we acted in a manner that was entirely consistent with our professional obligations and that no harm was done to the plaintiffs,” the statement said.