A former client of Strasburger & Price has sued the Dallas law firm, another firm and three South Texas lawyers. Target Strike Inc. alleges in a negligence petition that the defendants filed an underlying business dispute lawsuit in the wrong state, where a shorter statute of limitations ran out, killing the plaintiff’s $161 million claim.
Dan Butcher, Strasburger’s managing partner, said the law firm is aware of the petition.
“We don’t talk about pending litigation, but we intend to defend the case,” Butcher said.
David Kassab, an associate with San Antonio’s The Kassab Law Firm, represents the plaintiff. If the defendants had advised his client of the issue, he said, it “would have had them at least file a bare-bones petition before the statute of limitations ran in Texas.”
San Antonio attorney Daniel Lanfear, one of the defendants, said of the lawsuit, “We’re intending to defend it and don’t think it has any merit at all.”
The plaintiff filed the petition in Target Strike v. Strasburger & Price in state district court in Dallas, alleging that the defendant lawyers and law firms filed a breach of contract case, which involved computer software used for mining minerals, in Texas, which has a four-year statute of limitation on such claims. Instead, the petition alleges, the defendants should have filed the case in Nevada, a jurisdiction where the claims arose, which has a six-year statute of limitations.
“While the underlying proceedings are complex, one fact in this … case emerges with stark clarity: had the lawyers timely filed plaintiff’s underlying claims in Nevada, where the claim accrued and where a six-year statute of limitations applied, plaintiff’s underlying case would not have been dismissed on limitations and would have been successful,” the petition alleges.
“However, the lawyers chose the easy, more local route of filing the case in Texas. As a result of the lawyers’ lack of jurisdictional diligence, plaintiff’s underlying case—which was valued by the lawyers and their experts at over $161,000,000—was dismissed on limitations,” the petition alleges.
In addition to Strasburger, the June 19 petition also names as defendants: Lanfear; Laredo attorneys Donato Ramos and Alfredo Ramos; and The Law Office of Donato D. Ramos. The petition alleges negligence against all defendants for allegedly wrongly filing the business dispute in a Bexar County district court in 2010.
Donato Ramos did not return a call seeking comment. The number for Alfredo Ramos on the State Bar of Texas website was disconnected; a person answering the telephone at The Law Office of Donato D. Ramos said she would try to pass along a message.
Kassab said his client met with the defendants before the statute of limitations elapsed in Texas.
“There are internal documents showing that Strasburger was drafting memos about the viability of the case, and they had enough information that they knew or should have known about the Texas statute of limitations passing in the coming months,” Kassab said.