Godfrey attorney sued by Freed and Weiss over class actions
Kelly Holleran Apr. 23, 2009, 7:57am
Godfrey attorney Timothy F. Campbell is being sued in St. Clair County for allegedly dissuading clients from keeping Freed and Weiss of Chicago as their co-counsel.
Freed and Weiss filed suit April 21 alleging the firm lost thousands of dollars in work they performed on cases from which they were later omitted.
Freed and Weiss says it entered into an agreement with the Lakin Law Firm in 1999 in which both firms agreed to serve as co-counsel in about six cases and to split fees generated from them.
Campbell, who is an attorney with Campbell and McGrady, was involved in many of the cases in which both firms were co-counsel, according to the suit.
Throughout their time spent working on the cases, Freed and Weiss spent more than $450,000, they say.
However, in the fall of 2006, Campbell and the Lakin Law Firm secretly tried to appropriate cases for themselves and to exclude Freed and Weiss from them, the complaint says.
"On information and belief, the Lakin Firm directed Defendant Campbell to proceed with arranging the termination by the Clients of Freed and Weiss as their attorneys," the suit states. "Specifically, Defendant contacted the Clients and advised them of the termination of a relationship on the Cases between Freed and Weiss and the Lakin Firm and Defendant Campbell, and to request those clients terminate Freed and Weiss."
Campbell and Lakin sent letters to clients advising them the Lakin Law Firm would not longer be working with Freed and Weiss, according to court records.
In the letter, Campbell and Lakin also asked the clients to place an "X" on the line of the firm they wished to continue to represent them. However, Freed and Weiss says it was not included on the list of potential firms.
Throughout their correspondence with clients, Campbell and Lakin failed to inform them that the discharge of Freed and Weiss would cause the clients to be liable to the law firm for the firm's services, the complaint says.
In addition, they failed to tell clients that Freed and Weiss was unaware of the letter or the solicitation being made against them and that Campbell and the Lakin Law Firm were acting for their own benefit, the suit states.
"The Clients are now obligated to Freed and Weiss for the reasonable value of the services provided to them for which they likely do not have the resources to pay, and would not have incurred this liability to Freed and Weiss had they been advised by Defendant of the consequences of terminating Freed and Weiss as their counsel," the suit states.
Freed and Weiss are seeking compensatory damages of no less than $450,000 and unspecified punitive damages, plus costs and other relief the court deems appropriate.
Richard J. Burke of St. Louis and Kevin T. Hoerner of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner and Thompson in Belleville will be representing it.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-205.