A former client of the Law Offices of Brent Coon & Associates of Beaumont has sued the firm and Gary Riebschlager, a lawyer in the Houston office, alleging their malpractice resulted in a $948,178.38 judgment against her.
Coon writes in an email, "There was no malpractice and Gary acted on the request of the client."
Linda Louise Rutherford alleges the defendants failed to respond to discovery requests or a motion for summary judgment in a suit filed against her in Dallas County, which led to the judgment against her.
"Defendants did nothing to seek to overturn the summary judgment and attempted nothing to try to file out of time or late responses or answers to the discovery or motion for summary judgment," Rutherford alleges in an amended original petition filed on March 15 in the 55th District Court in Harris County.
Rutherford names Riebschlager and Brent W. Coon PC, doing business as Brent Coon & Associates and Law Offices of Brent Coon & Associates, as defendants.
"We understand the judgment was subsequently satisfied for a very small fraction of the original debt," Coon writes.
Noting that his firm and Riebschlager have not been served, he writes that he has had no discussions with the plaintiff’s lawyer, and "We would expect the suit to be dropped once all the facts are flushed out."
In an interview, he says, if the defendants are served, they will file a counterclaim.
"There was no prior notice of an issue or a claim presented to the firm. This is all new news to me," he says in an interview.
Riebschlager did not return a telephone message left at his office.
Rutherford alleges in the petition that she hired the defendants to defend her in the underlying suit,which was pending in the 298th District Court in Dallas County. She alleges that on April 26, 2011, the trial court in Dallas granted a motion for summary judgment and entered a final judgment against her for $948,178.38 plus interest and costs. She alleges that if the defendants had responded to the discovery and motion for summary judgment, the judgment would not have been entered against her in the underlying suit and she would have prevailed at trial.
On the malpractice cause of action, Rutherford seeks actual damages consisting of the value of the judgment. She alleges the firm is vicariously liable for Riebschlager’s acts. She also seeks fee forfeiture under a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action against the defendants.
Rutherford’s attorney, Houston solo Timothy Hootman, did not return a telephone message or respond to an email seeking comment.