SL Chapman is denying allegations in a lawsuit brought by its former “of counsel” attorney Craig Jensen and is seeking to return a fee dispute between the parties to an arbitrator.
Attorney Robert Schmieder II for SL Chapman cites new evidence as reason for remanding the matter to USA&M arbitrator Seth Albin of St. Louis.
Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder presides over the suit Jensen filed in October.
Schmieder answered the complaint in November, but according to the docket, no action or setting has taken place in the case since then.
Jensen’s suit asks the court to vacate Albin’s decision reached in September 2013.
Albin issued a ruling on Oct. 18 stating that Jensen’s agreement with the firm was still in full force when he breached agreement on March 15.
Albin ordered Jensen to pay the firm $16,500 being held in a trust account as a result of settlement (in June) of a case identified as “McCurter.”
The arbitration decision also requires, among other things, that Jensen reimburse the firm for expenses and fees related to his personal cases.
Schmieder II brought a petition against Jensen to the arbitrator last April after Jensen parted ways with the firm in March.
Among other things, SL Chapman accused Jensen of interfering with the firm’s relationship with plaintiff Jesse White in a 2007 maritime case which resulted in the plaintiff terminating the firm’s representation.
In Schmieder’s petition for remand to USA&M, he states that SLChapman was not aware that the “White” case had settled until after Jensen filed its lawsuit against the firm. He claims that Albin did not have evidence of the White settlement in order to calculate damages “suffered by the Firm from Jensen’s breach of the Of Counsel Agreement.”
“The evidence of the White settlement amount is new evidence that the arbitrator should be afforded the opportunity to hear in order to modify his Award,” Schmieder wrote.
In Jensen’s lawsuit he alleges that Albin engaged in misconduct, exceeded his authority and ruled on matters not subject to arbitration during a hearing in St. Louis in September.
Jensen had been employed by the firm originally named Lakin Law Firm of Wood River, which was renamed LakinChapman in 2009 and then to SL Chapman in 2011 when the firm downsized and underwent a restructuring.
Lee Barron, as well as Jensen and MeyerJensen, are plaintiff’s counsel in the case.
Madison County case number 13-L-1800.