A financial company claims that an attorney who sued it over allegedly unpaid commission payments didn’t meet his obligations and can’t show he’s entitled to payment.
In its Sept. 26 answer in Powers v. Duff & Phelps, the financial company denies Austin attorney Pike Powers’ claim that he successfully developed business for Duff & Phelps and generated millions. It also denies that Powers honored the terms of an employment agreement or that he provided valuable services, among other things.
“Defendant denies that Plaintiff is entitled to obtain damages from Defendant,” says the answer, continuing, “Defendant has fully performed any and all obligations it has under the contract.”
Powers’ lawyer, Tom Nesbitt, a partner in DeShazo & Nesbitt in Austin, says, “I will respond in the ordinary course of the lawsuit.”
Powers sued Duff & Phelps on Sept. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin. He claimed that Duff & Phelps hired him for business development in its Austin office and a September 2010 employment agreement promised him commissions even after termination of employment. His employment ended in October 2011. Among other things, Powers alleges he generated “revenue of multiple millions of dollars,” but Duff & Phelps has only paid $15,000. [See " Lawyer Pike Powers Seeks $1 Million From Financial Company," Texas Lawyer, Sept. 16, 2013, page 7.]
In addition to denying many of the allegations in Powers’ complaint, Duff & Phelps argues Powers should take nothing and the court should dismiss his suit.
Duff & Phelps alleges that the agreement between the company and Powers says that, to get a commission payment, the “engagement must be closed and all related fees collected.” Also, the engagement must have generated from “your direct marketing efforts” or a “lead” that was “passed to you.”
The agreement continues to list the paperwork that “must be submitted for payment to be processed,” says the answer.
Duff & Phelps alleges, “To date, none of the conditions precedent in the above sections of the offer letter have been met or occurred. Therefore Plaintiff cannot show himself entitled to any payment.”
Powers, who was the head of Fulbright & Jaworski’s Austin office for 25 years, didn’t return a telephone call.
Richard W. “Ricky” Espey, who represents Duff & Phelps, didn’t return a telephone call or email seeking comment.