Intellectual property and trial firm Matthews, Lawson, McCutcheon & Joseph of Houston has settled a lawsuit it filed against former lawyer Erik Osterrieder alleging he stole confidential client information and operated his own firm on the side.
On July 27, 164th District Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas of Harris County signed a final order of dismissal with prejudice of the suit Matthews Lawson filed in March against Osterrieder, an IP lawyer, and Osterrieder LLC. That order states that “all matters in controversy between the parties have been compromised and resolved.”
Matthews, Lawson, McCutcheon & Joseph v. Osterrieder settled under confidential terms, according to Ken Breitbeil, a shareholder in McFall, Breifbail & Eidman in Houston who represents the firm, and defense attorney Ethan Gibson, a partner in Fulkerson Lotz of Houston.
“We are very happy with the way this has worked out,” Gibson said.
“We’re all pleased with the fact we could make the case settle,” Breitbeil said.
In March, Matthews Lawson alleged in its petition that Osterrieder operated his own firm, Osterrieder LLC, from his office at Matthews Lawson and other locations while employed full time at Matthews Larson. The firm alleged that Osterrieder denied on at least two occasions in 2016 that he was operating his own firm while at Matthews Lawson.
But in an answer filed in April, Osterrieder called the suit “baseless” and “nothing more than a spurious attempt to impose a nonenforceable noncompete/nonsolicitation agreement on an attorney, with the side benefit of making headlines that might follow Erik Osterrieder for the rest of his career.”
In that answer, Osterrieder denied the allegations, and among several affirmative defenses alleged that not only did Matthews Lawson give him permission, it knew about his other firm and did nothing about it.
Osterrieder is now a partner at Rao DeBoer Osterrieder in Houston.