Trials & Litigation

Barratry suit says law firm collaborates with contractors to target homeowners with storm damage

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An intervention petition was filed this week in an ongoing Texas lawsuit over alleged mistreatment by contractors and public adjusters of homeowners who suffer storm damage. It alleges that a law firm specializing in insurance matters is also among the claimed wrongdoers.

“This lawsuit involves an elaborate web of fraud, barratry, breaches of fiduciary duty, conversion, systemic dishonesty, and conspiracy,” alleges petition filed by the would-be intervenor, homeowner Juan Guerra, “perpetrated by the defendants not only on Guerra but undoubtedly on thousands of others.”

He says in his Dallas filing that Speights & Worrich collaborates with other defendants including a roofing contractor who goes door-to-door to persuade homeowners to sign up for storm-related repairs that will be covered by their insurance, the Claims Journal and the SE Texas Record report.

Without being fully informed of what is going on, the homeowners are obligated by paperwork they sign to pay for the services of a public adjuster and a law firm, too, Guerra contends.

“This is a very real and deceitful scheme that is carried out in this state every day by those who are supposed to be helping homeowners, not ripping them off,” said attorney Mark Ticer, who represents Guerra. Barratry, he notes, can involve the solicitation by non-lawyers of clients for legal representation, as well as unauthorized litigation.

Texas provides a private remedy for such conduct under state law, and a State Bar of Texas web page provides more details about prohibited conduct.

Guerra’s intervention petition seeks class-action status, alleging that homeowners are being represented in mediation and even litigation matters without their knowledge.

The news articles don’t include any comment from the law firm named in the intervention petition or other defendants in the case.

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