A former paralegal at Houston lawyer Richard Laminack's current and former firms alleges the prominent plaintiffs lawyer is a "sexual predator" who once offered her $15,000 to stay with him in a hotel room in Las Vegas over a weekend and once suggested she perform a sexual act on an expert witness to improve his mood and testimony.
Defendants in the suit Angela Robinson filed in state district court in Houston on July 25 are Laminack; his current firm, Laminack, Pirtle & Martines; and the O'Quinn Law Firm, formerly known as O'Quinn, Laminack & Pirtle in which Laminack was partner.
Robinson, a Magnolia, Texas, woman who worked on fen-phen litigation while employed at the firms, alleges the defendants engaged in mail fraud under 18 U.S.C. §1962 for mailing settlement statements to fen-phen clients that contained overcharges for medical records. Robinson alleges "firm employees would order fictitious medical records" for clients from health care providers that had never treated those clients, and then the firms added $100 to $150 to the expenses deducted from the clients' portion of their fen-phen settlements for those "fictitious medical records."
Robinson alleges she told Laminack of the "unlawful scheme to defraud thousands of fen-phen litigation clients" but he "told her to be quiet and not inform anyone of this" and he directed the firms to mail the settlement statements containing the charges.
She alleges she was wrongfully terminated under the Texas Supreme Court's 1985 opinion in Sabine Pilot Services v. Hauck for failing to commit an illegal act. Robinson also brings battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress causes of action alleging she was subject to a hostile work environment. She seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages.
"No cause of action under or alleging Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, or Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code is being asserted at this time against any defendant," she writes.
Robinson, who alleges she worked under Laminack's supervision at O'Quinn Laminack and at Laminack Pirtle from May 2002 until her "wrongful termination" on April 14, 2008, seeks unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act totaling $27,500, plus an equal amount in penalties, plus attorney fees and costs.
Laminack, managing partner of Laminack Pirtle, could not immediately be reached for comment.
But Houston lawyer Dale Jefferson, a partner with Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, who represents the O'Quinn Law Firm, says the mail fraud allegation is "completely false." As to the allegations of a hostile work environment at O'Quinn Laminack when Laminack was working there, Jefferson says Robinson never made a complaint under the firm's sexual harassment policy. In 2006, Laminack and Thomas Pirtle left O'Quinn Laminack to form Laminack Pirtle.
"When all the facts come to light, I sure hope the actual facts are reported with the same intensity as the alleged facts contained in the petition," Jefferson says.
Robinson's attorneys, of counsel Spencer Markle and partner Andrew McKinney IV of Houston's McKinney & Cooper, could not immediately be reached for comment.