Law Firms

This BigLaw firm is found liable for nearly $200M in malpractice trial

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A jury in Harris County, Texas, has found Andrews Kurth liable for $196 million in a malpractice suit filed by a former client.

The damages assessed by jurors on Nov. 11 do not include interest, Above the Law reports. The plaintiffs’ motion for entry of judgment (PDF) is pending.

The case involved allegations that the law firm reviewed an agreement in a family business dispute that was later found to be unenforceable, according to Mahany Law, which was first to report the news. The plaintiffs were former client Scott Martin and SKM Partnership.

The suit had claimed Andrews Kurth billed Martin more than $3 million in fees and costs in a “doomed” suit seeking to enforce the agreement. The managing partner of Andrews Kurth told Law360 (sub. req.) in October 2013, when the suit was filed, that it was an attempt to avoid payment of $2 million in outstanding legal fees and the firm had performed “exceptional work” in the case.

An appeals court found the deal was an unenforceable “agreement to agree,” and the finding was based on changes in the agreement inserted by Andrews Kurth, according to allegations in the malpractice suit recounted in the prior story by Law360. Martin claimed that the ruling on the agreement resulted in additional litigation that Martin resolved by selling his shares in the business for less than what they were worth.

Above the Law published this statement from Andrews Kurth managing partner Bob Jewell: “We are disappointed and respectfully disagree with the jury’s verdict. We will remain committed to the post-verdict and appellate process and are confident that we will ultimately be vindicated.”

Updated to fix a style error. Updated at 2:55 p.m. to clarify the penultimate paragraph in response to commenters.

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