"TEXAS LAWYER" REPORTS MOSTYN LAW FIRM NON-SUITED IN HURRICANE IKE SUIT, THEN HIT WITH ANOTHER
Today’s on-line edition of Texas Lawyer magazine contains an article written by reporter Brenda Sapino Jeffreys reporting on the resolution of a highly-publicized legal malpractice suit against Steve Mostyn and The Mostyn Law Firm. Her article reported:
The day after an ex-client of Mostyn Law Firm non-suited a negligence and breach of fiduciary duty suit related to Hurricane Ike against the firm, two other former clients filed a malpractice suit against the Houston-based firm and two of its lawyers alleging they mishandled a Hurricane Ike flood damage suit.
Plaintiffs Irvin A. and Nancy Carol Harrison seek between $5 million and $6 million in damages in the newly filed suit.
In the non-suit on March 17, Rankin Road, a Harris County company, filed a notice that it was non-suiting with prejudice all claims asserted against third-party defendants Mostyn Law Firm and five lawyers in Rankin Road v. Underwriters at Lloyds of London. In an amended third-party petition filed in December 2015, Rankin Road had alleged the firm and lawyers Mitchell Templeton, Sean Russell, Michael Ramsey and Amber Anderson Mostyn, among several things, withdrew from representation in 2014 after non-suiting its Hurricane Ike insurance coverage claims against insurance defendants but without obtaining a dismissal of counterclaims or resolving a motion for sanctions. The defendants filed answers denying the allegations. (J. Steve Mostyn, founder of Mostyn Law Firm, was included in the March 17 non-suit motion even though he was earlier non-suited.)
An attorney for Rankin Road, Tamara Madden, a partner in Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor of Houston, declined to discuss reasons for the non-suit except to say "the parties resolved the claim."
In response to the non-suit, Joe Madden, a spokesman for the Mostyn Law Firm defendants, said, "We would let the public documents speak for themselves. We are non-suited and are happy with the results."
On March 18, a day after the notice of non-suit in Rankin Road, the Harrisons filed a suit against Mostyn Law Firm, Steve Mostyn and former firm lawyer Ramsey, alleging that because the defendants mishandled their flood damage claims, they could not rebuild their Crystal Beach home. They allege they lost the house to foreclosure.
The plaintiffs bring legal malpractice (negligence), gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duty causes of action against the defendants, and allege they violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act (DTPA).
The plaintiffs seek between $700,000 and $1 million in compensatory damages jointly and severally from the defendants plus treble damages under the DTPA, $1 million in punitive damages from Steve Mostyn, $1 million in punitive damages from the firm, $1 million in punitive damages from Ramsey, and attorney fees, costs and interest. Plaintiff's lawyer Steven Engelhardt, of Englehardt Law of Houston, confirmed his clients seek between $5 million and $6 million in damages from the defendants.
The Harrisons allege they filed the petition to seek damages for the defendants' "negligent and malicious intent to cover up their actions" involving their property flood damage claims.
As to Harrison v. Mostyn Law Firm, Madden said, "We believe that the case is meritless and frivolous and is not supported by the law and the facts."
Ramsey, who is no longer with Mostyn Law Firm but offices at the firm's Beaumont office, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In the petition in Harrison, the Harrisons allege their home in Crystal Beach, located on the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County, suffered wind and flood damage from Hurricane Ike in September 2008, and they hired the firm to help them pursue their windstorm damage claims with Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) and flood damage claims with Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co.
The plaintiffs allege they signed a power-of-attorney contract with the defendants on June 21, 2010 and a month later the firm sent a letter to Fidelity demanding full payment under their flood insurance policy.
On July 27, 2010, according to the petition, Fidelity denied the plaintiffs' flood loss claim, so the defendants filed a lawsuit Aug. 22, 2013 on their behalf. The Harrisons allege the defendants failed to appeal within 60 days of the demand letter or no later than July 27, 2011, as required, or file a lawsuit on or before July 27, 2011.
The plaintiffs allege that in April 2014, they met with Ramsey, who "acknowledged" that their flood damage claims had been mishandled.
The plaintiffs allege they were "lied to, misled and put off about the status, facts and progress in connection with the flood damage claims."
However, Madden said, the Harrisons approached the firm almost 10 months after a Federal Emergency Management Agency deadline for filing proof of loss, and that applied to their flood insurance policy.
The complete article can be found at: http://www.texaslawyer.com/id=1202752944215/Mostyn-Law-Firm-NonSuited-in-Hurricane-Ike-Suit-Then-Hit-with-Another#ixzz43lN5C1P6
A similar story ran on March 21st in the Southeast Texas Record written by reporter David Yates. It can be found at: http://setexasrecord.com/stories/510702802-another-mostyn-client-sues-him-for-legal-malpractice-seeks-millions-in-damages