A Harris County man filed a lawsuit against Houston solo practitioner Elizabeth Bruman, alleging he paid her a $25,000 retainer to appeal a federal court judgment against him, but she "never appealed the cases as she had represented to Plaintiff she would."
Thomas Konnethu alleges in the petition he filed on Aug. 18 in the 125th District Court in Harris County that Bruman "repeatedly refused" to refund the $25,000 retainer, although "she did nothing to earn this fee."
The judgment against Konnethu is in Konnethu v. Harris County Hospital District, which was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas.
Konnethu brings negligence; breaches of fiduciary duties; reimbursement, refund of retainer, money had and received and unjust enrichment; fraud, negligent misrepresentation; and duties of good faith and fair dealing causes of action against Bruman, and alleges she breached the Texas Deceptive Trade-Consumer Protection Act.
Konnethu seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, disgorgement of fees, costs and interest from Bruman in Thomas Konnethu v. Elizabeth Bruman.
Bruman, who says she has not been served with the petition, said during an interview on Aug. 23 that Konnethu did hire her to appeal the federal court suit to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and she filed a notice of appeal because the deadline was approaching. However, she said that after she studied the record and the law, she filed a motion to dismiss the appeal with his permission.
"We did not have a good faith basis for proceeding … ," she said. "The record was incomplete and I looked at the law and I thought the judge did not make an error."
Bruman said she urged Konnethu to seek a second opinion, and she gave him a partial refund.
"I gave him a refund of everything unearned," she said.
In a voice mail message on Aug. 27, Bruman said she talked to Konnethu's attorney, Donald Cheatham, and she believes he will non-suit the petition.
Cheatham, a solo practitioner in Houston, says, "I'm not at liberty to talk about it until I talk to my client."