Which plaintiffs provenance?
How did Jason Gibson find his clients?
That's the latest pressing question for Jefferson County Judge Donald Floyd, presiding over the increasingly messy clash between Beaumont-based Universal Coin & Bullion (UCB), a disenchanted ex-employee and two Texas plaintiff's lawyers-- Gibson and Bill Voss.
Back in March, Floyd ordered the ex-employee and Voss to stop working in tandem, using confidential customer information to gin up lawsuits against UCB.
Since, Gibson himself has filed-- by his count-- 15 of them, all claiming the company is charging too much for its investment-grade coins.
So where did Gibson find his plaintiffs? Well, UCB says he got them from the ex-employee and Voss-- in defiance of Floyd's order.
After the court told Voss to knock it off, he and Gibson had a "meeting of the minds... to accomplish an unlawful purpose or a lawful purpose by unlawful means," the company claims, in a motion filed with the court this week.
In other words, though court ordered to do so, Voss didn't beg off its trail. Rather, he just passed the confidential information off to Gibson to cultivate, UCB says.
The company wants Floyd to find Voss and Gibson in contempt of court, imposing a fine or jail time.
For his part, Gibson is incredulous. He insists his plaintiffs have all approached him independently.
"Judge Floyd's order doesn't say anything about clients contacting me," Gibson said, dismissing the contempt motion as a "publicity stunt."
To be sure, Gibson knows something about publicity.
Frequently quoted in the media assailing the "high pressure" sales tactics of UCB and other coin sellers, Gibson has made himself into something of a pundit on the subject. He also advertises on search engines like Google promoting his talents as a "coin fraud" lawyer, recruiting clients via a flashy web site-- www.coinfraud.com, stocked with tough talk and a mug shot of Gibson doing his best John Wayne imitation.
"If you're looking for an argument, you've come to the right place," it promises.
We cannot wait to hear Gibson's argument in his own defense.
The hearing is Dec. 7.