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Austin, Texas, venture capital firm Interfase Capital Partners sued its law firm, Baker Botts, claiming it should pay its investors if they win several lawsuits filed against it. Interfase filed the suit Oct. 23 in state district court in Austin. In July 2001, a group of Austin investors charged Interfase with fraud, mismanagement and theft, demanding more than $12 million in damages and fees. The case is in arbitration, with hearings scheduled to begin in January. In the suit against Baker Botts, Interfase continues to assert its innocence but argues that the law firm should be responsible if the litigants prevail because it provided legal advice and services. Robb Voyles, partner in charge of Baker Botts’ Austin office, said there’s no merit to the suit. “It’s difficult to respond when there are no claims made in the pleading,” he said. “But I’m confident that our work was of high quality.” Voyles said his firm hasn’t counseled Inferfase for probably two years. Paul Knisely, an attorney for Interfase, didn’t return calls seeking comment. Interfase was founded in 1999 by Scott Hyten, a former executive at Dallas information technology consulting firm Perot Systems Inc. He was later joined by Capstar Partners’ Steve Hicks, brother of Hicks Muse Tate & Furst’s Tom Hicks, in early 2000. Interfase invested in distressed Internet-based firms, including health site Drkoop.com, which filed for bankruptcy last year, and defunct online retailers Mall.com and Chipshot.com. ©Copyright 2002, The Deal, LLC. All rights reserved.

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