A Waco lawyer and firm have denied all the allegations in a doctor's professional-negligence suit against them, and they argue the case should be transferred to McLennan County.
Defendants Wesley J. Filer and Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee also argue that Dr. Glenn M. Haluska's claims are barred by the statute of limitations and "his failure to mitigate his claimed damages." They allege that Haluska can't recover, or his recovery should be reduced, because of "the percentage of responsibility attributed to him," according to the Sept. 9 Defendants' Original Answer in Haluska v. Filer, et al.
Haluska alleged that Filer and the firm committed professional negligence when Filer wrote a letter to Haluska's two children about terminating two trust accounts, according to the Aug. 16 Plaintiff's Original Petition, Requests for Disclosures, and Jury Demand. The doctor alleged the letter had a paragraph that "negligently and imprudently" said Haluska had conveyed that, if the trust matter couldn't be resolved, he would assume control of the trusts and stop making distributions to the children.
Later, the children sued their father and removed him as trustee. Haluska settled on "extremely unfavorable" terms, says the petition. [See " After Family Feud, Doctor Sues Longtime Lawyers," Texas Lawyer, Sept. 2, 2013, page 6.]
In a Sept. 9 Defendants' Motion to Transfer Venue, Filer and Naman Howell argue that the case should be moved from Travis County to McLennan County.
"[A]ll the conduct described in the petition was conducted by lawyers who maintain their office and practice in McLennan County," says the motion, continuing, "Sustaining venue in Travis County would be reversible error following conclusion of trial. . . ."
In an attached affidavit, Filer writes that he represented Haluska from about 1993 to 2010.
"I never traveled to Austin or anywhere else outside of McLennan County to meet with Dr. Haluska," Filer wrote in the affidavit. Filer adds that he wrote the letter about the trusts from McLennan County. Among other things, he alleges that, after Haluska reviewed a draft of the letter, "he asked that I add a paragraph to the memo."
Defendants' lawyer Mike McKetta and plaintiff's lawyer Tom Prehoditch each didn't return a telephone call or email seeking comment.