Category Archives: Breach of Contract

Law Firm Can’t Change its “F” Grade

Kaufman, Englett & Lynd(KEL), a law firm, sued the Central Florida Better Business Bureau (BBB) for false advertising in violation of the Landham act, “disparagement of business”, and breach of contract. BBB’s business revolves around rating law firms, and allegedly gave the law firm disparaging and misleading reviews, an F rating, all the while breaching accreditation agreement with the company. After receiving the grade, many of their clients supposedly left.

Nonetheless on February 20, Judge John Antoon ruled that the misrepresentations are not ads because the BBB and KEL do not compete commercially. Furthermore, it was decided that KEL, though based in Florida, could not claim personal jurisdiction as it neither owns shares nor controls daily operations in the BBB. Nonetheless, Judge Antoon refused to provide supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, meaning that KEL is free to try again in state court.

Gay Auditor Sues Against Library of Congress

Last August, Peter TerVeer, a talented gay former auditor for the Library of Congress’s Inspector’s General Office, filed suit against his old boss, John Mech, harassed him with religious homophobia and eventually got TerVeer fired.

Though originally close friends, the two grew apart after Mech’s daughter saw TerVeer liking Two Facebook page. After that, the religious lectures began, and TerVeer complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity office and Mech’s supervisor Nicholas Christopher, though to little avail. Mech (with Christopher’s help) allegedly “continued to manufacture a negative paper trail” to downgrade TerVeer’s performance ratings. Advised to take an extended medical leave to deal with stress, he was ultimately fired for missing 37 consecutive work days though the library officials had signed off for disability time off.

The lawsuit claims discrimination based on “sex stereotyping” and violation of Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Terveer wants his old job, back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for emotional distress, and an order restraining Mech.

Children’s Lawyer Jailed for Misallocating Award Funds

John William Coates, a Texas Children’s Personal Injury Lawyer, pleaded guilty last August to withholding $600,000 from the Travis County court registry and his clients from 2002 through 2010. As an attorney to the minors, Coates was to accept awards on behalf of his clients from insurance companies and place that money into a court registry until the child turned 18.

Coates however, kept many of the awards for his personal use, but would deposit the funds into the registry before the child came of age. Sometimes though, the money wasn’t there in time.

Coates now resides at Travis County Jail under a 10-year prison deal, and could be released on probation after six months for good behavior if he agrees to certain conditions, like relinquishing his law license.

Sewer Service Lawsuit Turned Class Action

Earlier in September, Judge Denny Chin agreed to a class action case of thousands of plaintiffs who had been sued for unpaid debts and had default judgments entered against them. The issue began when debt purchaser Leucadia National Corp. and NY law firm, Mel S. Harris and Associates, that specializes in debt collection, used tactics to keep the plaintiffs from finding out about legal action until default judgment was issued.

One of the tactics “sewer service” made sure that notices were either improperly delivered or never served at all. By Judge Chin’s standards, the two companies violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act NY state’s general business law, and the Racketeer influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. While Leucadia remained silent, , Harris Associates denied the claims and said it had not broken any laws and that plaintiffs had not proven the existence of an alleged conspiracy to defraud defendants.