Houston lawyer John Lunstroth filed a $1 million lawsuit against Houston firm Pagel, Davis & Hill, alleging it breached an agreement when it abruptly stopped paying him a share of fees generated by clients he brought to the firm.
Lunstroth is seeking more than $1 million in damages from the firm.
Lunstroth alleges in the suit he filed in state court in Harris County on Sept. 21 that he entered into an agreement in June 2016 with Pagel Davis for a portion of fees generated by clients he brought to the firm. He alleges the firm agreed to pay him 10 percent of the fees generated by the clients’ continuing business.
Under the agreement, Lunstroth alleges, he referred “numerous” clients that resulted in “considerable” fees for the firm.
“Recognizing and honoring the agreement, defendant issued payments to plaintiff for several clients. Without any explanation, defendant has abruptly discontinued these payments,” Lunstroth alleges in the petition.
In Lunstroth v. Pagel, Davis & Hill, Lunstroth alleges the firm breached a contract with him and breached its fiduciary duty.
Kent Pagel, president and senior shareholder of the firm, did not respond to a request for comment.
Buzbee Law Firm founder Anthony Buzbee, who represents Lunstroth, was at a hearing in California on Tuesday and did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the State Bar of Texas membership record, Lunstroth is a solo practitioner who works as law faculty. On his LinkedIn page, he lists his employment as a visiting scholar at the University of Houston Law Center. On the school’s website he is listed as a lecturer in the Honors College. Lunstroth also did not respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time Lunstroth has sued Pagel Davis. On June 4, Lunstroth brought a malpractice suit against the firm in his role as executor of the estate of William Stender.
In that suit, Lunstroth alleges the estate of Stender, who died on June 6, 2016, hired Pagel Davis to represent its interests in probate court. Lunstroth alleges the firm misrepresented Stender’s interests in several businesses.
He alleges the firm previously represented Stender in connection with several business interests but also represented other individuals who had ownership interests in several of those companies.
“And after Stender’s death, PDH [Pagel Davis] made the decision to conceal the value of Stender’s actual business interests,” he alleges in the petition.
Lunstroth seeks unspecified damages on behalf of the estate and brings several causes of action against the firm, including breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence and malpractice.
On July 23, Pagel Davis filed an answer denying the allegations in the malpractice suit and requesting that the plaintiff take nothing.
The suits apparently will not be heard by the same judge. The fee suit Lunstroth filed Sept. 21 is assigned to the 151st District Court and the malpractice suit is filed in the 61st District Court. On Tuesday, 151st District Judge Mike Engelhart, the administrative judge for the civil trial division, ordered that the Harris County District Clerk’s office shall not transfer the suit filed in his court to 61st District Judge Fredericka Phillips’ court.