Austin lawyer Pike Powers alleges in a new pleading that he didn’t get his 10 percent commission, even though his work landed a financial company a litigation support job with Fulbright & Jaworski worth “millions of dollars.”
The dispute began after Powers—who led Fulbright & Jaworski’s Austin office from about 1978 to 2004—alleged he worked for Duff & Phelps from 2010 to 2011, but the financial company failed to pay him promised commissions. Duff & Phelps denied the allegations and contended that Powers didn’t meet the conditions to get paid. But Powers’ amended complaint claims he did meet all the necessary conditions. [See "Financial Company Denies Allegations by Pike Powers in $1 Million Lawsuit," Texas Lawyer, Oct. 14, 2013, page 7.]
“We ultimately believe that, when all the facts kind of shake out, as they do during discovery—and when you apply the four corners of the contract—that what he is asking for is well in excess of what he is owed in terms of the contract,” said Rick Espey, the president of Espey & Associates, who represents Duff & Phelps.
Powers’ attorney, DeShazo & Nesbitt partner Tom Nesbitt of Austin, said, “My client has said we don’t need to comment at this time about anything.”
Powers filed both his first amended complaint and his motion for leave to amend his complaint in Powers v. Duff & Phelps on March 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.
A Fulbright & Jaworski section head emailed Powers in November 2010 for recommendations on a litigation support firm for the firm’s client, Duke Energy, in the Crescent v. Duke Energy litigation, Powers alleges in the amended complaint.
“It was for a moment just like this that Duff employed Powers; for Powers was now in a position to become aware of opportunities, [to] generate a lead for Duff, to act on the opportunity by bringing Duff into the conversation with the prospect, to be an ambassador for Duff, and assist Duff in pitching and landing the business. Powers did exactly what he was hired to do,” Powers alleges in the amended complaint.
Powers “urged” Fulbright & Jaworski to consider Duff and urged that the attorney have a phone call with Duff’s team. Powers alleges that he “conferred extensively” with one Duff managing director and helped with “preparation for the meeting” and “the development of the proposal,” among other things. After the phone call, Powers followed up with the attorney “to help Duff close the engagement,” Powers alleged in the amended complaint. It closed in December 2010.
“Duff generated and collected millions of dollars for its work” on the Crescent v. Duke Energy litigation, alleges the amended complaint, noting that Powers’ commission for such engagements was 10 percent. “To date, Duff has not paid Powers any commission.”