Sheila Gowan, the Chapter 11 trustee in the Dreier bankruptcy, claims the Texas court where her former law firm filed suit seeking fees lacks jurisdiction over her and therefore the suit should be dismissed.
Gowan is being sued by Diamond McCarthy over a $1.4 million fee she received as trustee in the Dreier case. The Texas-based firm alleges Gowan, a nonequity former partner, has refused to give the firm the fee she earned as trustee, even though she is required to under the partnership agreement. The suit in Harris County, Texas, Diamond McCarthy v. Gowan, 2014-38139 (See Petition), claims Gowan worked primarily with the firm’s Texas personnel (NYLJ, July 15).
But Gowan on Monday said in court papers that being employed by a Texas-based firm to practice law in New York does not mean that New York employees have sufficient contacts with Texas to establish jurisdiction over them.
Now of counsel at Sadowski Fischer, Gowan said she is a resident of New York and has never done business in Texas. “If anyone benefitted from the interactions among DM’s employees in New York and Texas, it was DM who made millions of dollars in legal fees on the Dreier case, not Gowan,” she said.
Diamond McCarthy, which served as trustee’s counsel in the Dreier bankruptcy, earned about $11 million, according to court records.
Addressing the firm’s claim that she is bound by the partnership agreement to turn over the fee, Gowan said she disputes that the agreement was sent to her in an offer letter from Diamond McCarthy or that she ever executed it. She is represented by George Gibson, of Houston firm Nathan Sommers Jacobs.