A Texas man filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against Houston-based Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry and one of its shareholders, alleging the defendants failed to avoid an “inherent conflict of interest” when representing him and his business partner when they put his partner’s interests ahead of his.
J. Marcus Laney and two of his businesses—J. Marcus Laney Investments and Laney & Worfe Real Estate—allege in a suit filed Wednesday in state district court in Harris County that the conflict of interest and negligence allowed his business partner, Kevin Worfe, to take advantage of him and his businesses, causing them substantial damage.
“Had the lawyers provided proper advice and counsel, and avoided the inherent conflict of interest, plaintiffs would have had separate counsel and would have not been damaged,” the suit alleges.
The plaintiffs seek more than $1 million in damages from Chamberlain Hrdlicka and firm partner David Pierson of Houston. Pierson and firm managing partner Wayne Risoli did not immediately respond requests for comment.
Laney and his businesses allege that Chamberlain Hrdlicka and Pierson represented Laney and his partner, Kevin Worfe, on a transaction involving a Chevrolet dealership and drafted corporate documents for the dealership, but put Worfe’s interests ahead of the interests of Laney and the dealership.
“More specifically, the lawyers drafted the agreements so that they were grossly one-sided in favor of their other client, Worfe,” the plaintiffs allege.
They also allege the firm and Pierson failed to obtain fully informed consent from the parties to the joint representation, and “failed to disclose the pros, cons, advantages, disadvantages, nature and implications” of the joint representation.
Laney and his companies seek more than $1 million in damages and fee forfeiture, and bring negligence and breach of fiduciary duty causes of action against the defendants.
Houston lawyer Lance Kassab, founder of The Kassab Law Firm, represents the plaintiffs. He could not immediately be reached for comment.