Austin lawyer Pike Powers has sued a financial company that hired him to develop business, alleging the company owes him more than $1 million in commissions.
Powers in 1978 opened the Austin office of Fulbright & Jaworski, which he led until 2004, with a break in 1983 to work for then-Texas Gov. Mark White. The firm is now called Norton Rose Fulbright. Powers is retired as a lawyer, but he works as a consultant, speaker and expert, and he's CEO of the Pike Powers Group, according to his complaint in Pike Powers v. Duff & Phelps.
Powers said he would talk to his lawyer and then return a telephone call seeking comment, but he did not call back.
His lawyer, DeShazo & Nesbitt partner Tom Nesbitt, declines comment, explaining, "We're just going to let the process run its course."
Tab Weaver, Duff & Phelps' managing director, city leader for the Austin office and global head of tax services, didn't return a telephone call or email seeking comment.
Powers' Sept. 4 complaint includes the background of the case. Duff & Phelps, called "Duff" in the complaint, is a financial advisory and investment-banking firm.
"Powers has spent most of his career engaged in the practice of law and in civic efforts to develop Austin's economy and to attract the appropriate kinds of technology-related business enterprises and research that make Austin, Texas the vibrant, engaged, livable city that it is today," says the complaint, noting that Powers has working relationships, knowledge and expertise about Austin's business and economic development.
Under a Sept. 3, 2010, employment agreement, Duff hired Powers for business development in its Austin office. Duff promised a base salary and commissions on "revenue generated from Powers-related and referred work." Powers would continue earning commissions after termination of employment, says the complaint.
Powers alleges Duff has refused to provide accounting of the revenue it generated from his work. He claims discovery will show his business generated "revenue of multiple millions of dollars to Duff." But Duff has only paid $15,000 in commissions to Powers.
"The relationship between Powers and Duff soured in 2011," says the complaint. An Oct. 4, 2011, addendum to the employment agreement ended Powers' employment but said "he would be entitled to full commission on future revenue his business development activities presented to Duff during his employment."
On multiple occasions since then, Powers and his counsel asked for an accounting of the revenue, but Duff has refused, alleges the complaint.
Powers is suing for breach of contract, and in the alternative, quantum meruit. He seeks actual damages, punitive damages, expert-witness and litigation costs, attorney fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest.