Who found a buyer for a departing lawyer’s share in his personal injury firm? According to the lawyer, it wasn’t a California man who had pitched his marketing services.
Plaintiffs lawyer David Middleman sued San Diego sports agent Jonathan Weisz, seeking a declaratory judgment that Weisz is entitled to “no compensation or monies” from Middleman’s sale of his interest in Pulaski & Middleman, a personal injury firm in Houston.
Middleman, who remains listed as an attorney on the Pulaski & Middleman website although he said he is not practicing anymore, also brought a tortious interference cause of action against Weisz, alleging that he “willfully and intentionally” interfered with the sale of Middleman’s interest in the firm.
Weisz, founder and president of Weisz Sports, did not return two telephone messages left at his office. His attorney, David Berg, a partner in Berg & Androphy in Houston, did not return a telephone message.
Middleman alleges in his petition in David Middleman v. Jonathan Weisz, filed on March 19 in the 11th District Court in Harris County, that Weisz worked with Middleman in 2012 and/or 2013 when Weisz “solicited” Adam Pulaski, Middleman’s partner, to assist the firm with advertising and marketing.
In 2013, Middleman alleges, he began to consider selling his share of the firm to other lawyers, and Weisz learned of the proposed sale and “began independently” seeking potential buyers.
Weisz told Middleman that Weisz would “serve as a ‘broker’ on the proposed sale” for 4 percent of the total sale price and “represented” that he was working with possible buyers in New York and Florida, Middleman alleges.
“Neither Middleman nor anyone at the firm, however, agreed to Weisz’s proposed brokerage arrangement, or to any other deal that Weisz proposed related to the proposed sale,” Middleman alleges in the petition.
He alleges that “without assistance from Weisz,” he sold his share to a buyer in Texas. He also alleges, however, that Weisz “and/or his partner” contacted a bank that was assisting the buyer in the purchase, claimed an interest in the proceeds going to Middleman and attempted to block the sale. Middleman alleges that Weisz’s interference delayed the closing of the sale.
“Weisz and his representatives have continued to contact Middleman for months, improperly extorting Middleman and demanding that he pay Weisz a portion of the proceeds from the actual sale,” Middleman alleges in the petition.
Middleman seeks a declaratory judgment that Weisz had no contract with him related to the sale, did not serve as a broker in the sale, is entitled to no compensation from the sale, is not a broker and performed “no work” to find the buyer.
Middleman also seeks unspecified compensatory damages, exemplary and punitive damages, costs and interest.
Middleman declined to say who bought his interest in Pulaski & Middleman, disclose the purchase price or describe the deal. He said he’s not practicing because his wife is ill and he’s taking care of her.
Pulaski did not return a telephone message.
John Black, a partner in Reynolds, Frizzell, Black, Doyle, Allen & Oldham in Houston who represents Middleman in the suit, said his firm did not work on the underlying transaction and it is not the subject of the suit.
“It’s just whether Jon [Weisz] is entitled to a fee. He claims he put the deal together,” Black said.
“He didn’t introduce David Middleman to the ultimate purchaser, and he’s not a broker. He doesn’t have a contract,” Black said.
Black said Middleman sued Weisz because “he’s not going to be held hostage by this guy.”