Harris County Jury Issues $660K Verdict in Breach of Contract Case

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A Harris County jury returned a verdict in a breach of contract case, finding that the Houston-based firm, Fleming & Associates should pay attorneys Stephen and Charles Kirklin $660,000 for referral contracts pertaining to fen-phen litigation.

In The Kirklin Law Firm, P.C. v. George Fleming and Fleming & Associates, LLP, in the 164th District Court in Harris County, TX, Case #68099, a Harris County jury returned a verdict, finding that the Houston law firm of Fleming & Associates should pay Houston attorneys, Stephen and Charles Kirklin $660,000 for referral contracts having to do with fen-phen litigation.

According to Attorney Paul Kirklin, who represented the case, the award totals $1,100,992 when the $225,000 in attorney fees and pre-judgment interest are included.

According to court documents, brothers Stephen and Charles Kirklin of Kirklin & Soh sued George Fleming and Fleming & Associates, now Fleming | Nolen | Jez in 2008. On Oct. 15, The Kirklin Law Firm v. George Fleming went to trial after eleven continuances. On Oct. 17, the jury returned a unanimous verdict and a hearing was scheduled for Nov. 8 to enter judgment.

Charles Kirklin said that they were “very thankful” for the verdict.

Court documents for Kirklin v. Fleming show that the plaintiffs alleged that they negotiated two referral agreements in 2001 with the defendants for fen-phen litigation, yet the defendants failed to comply with those agreements. Kirklin alleged that Fleming breached the contracts by failing to “pay plaintiffs all amount due and owing under the contracts, “failing to “take all necessary action on behalf of the clients” and failing to comply with disciplinary rules when representing clients. The plaintiffs also alleged an “overcharging of expenses to the clients.”

Based on court documents, Kirklin brought breach of contract and fraud causes of action against the defendants and sought a declaratory judgment that fen-phen clients could only be charged case specific expenses and that unsettled or undistributed cases would be handled in accordance with those agreements.

Court records show that on Aug. 21, the defendants denied allegations and filed a counterclaim for breach of contract, alleging that the plaintiffs failed to participate in a joint prosecution when they were required to do so.

On Oct. 17, after reviewing the facts of the case, the jury found that Fleming & Associates failed to comply with the agreements signed in May and October of 2001 and that the Kirklin Law Firm did not fail to comply with the October 2001 agreement. On those findings, the jury awarded the Kirklin Law Firm damages totaling $660,000, according to court documents.

At the hearing scheduled for Nov. 8, 164th, District Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan was to consider the plaintiffs’ motion to enter a judgment that would award $1.1 million in damages, attorney fees and interest to the plaintiffs as well as a motion finding Fleming liable for a judgment.

In the motion, the plaintiffs allege that Fleming claimed limited liability under the Texas Revised Partnership statute, and they argued the Fleming failed to comply with the statute’s requirements. The plaintiffs also allege in the motion that the defendants failed to carry the required liability insurance or provide funds specifically designated and set aside for the satisfaction of judgments.

“We have a judgment against the LLP. Now we are going to have another hearing against the LLP as to whether Fleming should be personally liable,” said Paul Kirklin, a partner at Kirklin & Soh and the lead lawyer at trial.

Kirklin & Soh, LLP is a civil litigation firm in Houston, TX that has been providing knowledgeable and effective legal counsel since 1981. The family practice provides exemplary representation to clients in cases involving different aspects of law including personal injury, business litigation, product liability and unsafe drug litigation. With an AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and clients such as ARCO, Wells Fargo and Ford Motor Co. entrusting their business litigation matters with the firm, the legal team has the reputation and proven track record necessary to represent clients in personal injury and business litigation cases. To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney at the firm, please call (800) 707-5025 or visit the firm’s website online at http://www.kirklinlawfirm.com.

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Paul Kirklin
Kirklin & Soh, LLP
since: 08/2012
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