Provost Umphrey suit questions validity of monetary claims

Kelly Holleran Feb. 10, 2011, 3:45am

A Beaumont law firm has filed two lawsuits against the Houston law firm and various individuals it claims are seeking unsubstantiated tens of thousands of dollars from it.

Provost Umphrey Law Firm claims defendants Newton B. Schwartz Sr., the Law Offices of Newton B. Schwartz Sr. and Anita Schwartz are suing it for various amounts they say the law firm owes them.

However, Provost Umphrey claims it is unsure of the validity and enforceability of the varying amounts the defendants claim they are owed.

Among the amounts owed, according to the defendants, are a guaranty on a $40,000 loan to Benton Musselwhite, a guaranty on a $100,000 loan to Benton Musselwhite and monthly advances from Provost Umphrey to Benton Musselwhite, according to the complaints filed Jan. 27 in Jefferson County District Court.

"Plaintiff intends to fully honor, pay and perform all valid and still enforceable debts, obligations, interests and duties owed to Defendants and does not repudiate any valid and still enforceable debts, obligations, interests and duties to Defendants," the suit states. "However, a genuine controversy exists between Plaintiff and Defendants regarding the existence and enforceability of this claimed debts, obligations, interests and duties and the terms and conditions thereof."

The federal court originally heard the case and settled the matters between the defendants and the United States, but remanded the case to Galveston District Court for the remaining claims, according to the complaints. Since then, Galveston District Court lost plenary power, the suit states.

Now, Provost Umphrey is seeking a declaratory judgment in Jefferson County District Court that conclusively determines each of the defendant's rights to the funds. It is also asking the court to declare the rights of the parties and to award plaintiffs damages, costs, expenses and other relief the court deems just. It also

Gary Neale Reger of Orgain, Bell and Tucker in Beaumont will be representing it.

The cases have been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, and Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Case Nos: B189-268, E189-269

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