Defunct Austin law firm sued over payment for computer equipment

Kelly Holleran Jun. 20, 2011, 9:46am

Three companies have filed an application for a writ of garnishment after they claim a prestigious, but now defunct, Austin law firm failed to pay them more than $1 million for three equipment leases.

Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Presidio Technology Capital, formerly known as Solarcom Capital, and Heartland Business Credit claim they allowed the law firm Clark, Thomas and Winters to lease computers and electronics from them under three different lease agreements.

In the first agreement, Clark, Thomas and Winters agreed on June 3, 2009, to lease computers and printers from Presidio for 36 months for $34,216 per month.

Later, Presidio assigned Wells Fargo Equipment Finance a security interest in the equipment, which provided Wells Fargo with the ability to exercise recourse rights against the law firm, according to the complaint filed June 7 in Jefferson County District Court.

On June 30, 2009, Clark, Thomas and Winters again entered into a lease with Presidio for $6,841 for the first two months and for $13,751 for the remainder of the term's lease, the suit states.

Finally, on Sept. 9, 2009, the law firm entered into a 36-month lease with Presidio and agreed to pay $14,984 per month. Presidio later assigned interest in that lease to Heartland, the complaint says.

However, in April, Clark, Thomas and Winters "effectively imploded, ceased to conduct business, and began the process of liquidating and winding up its affairs," the suit states.

By May 1, the law firm failed to make its required payments, the plaintiffs claim.

Under the lease, the plaintiffs have to submit to binding arbitration under Georgia law.

While the plaintiffs claim they filed arbitration in Georgia on May 18 in which they seek an award for rental balances, they have also filed the current action in Texas in an attempt to collect the debt.

"Because CT&W has ceased to conduct business, if its funds in the possession of Garnishee are not garnished, it will be impossible for the Garnishors to collect or enforce any award obtained against CT&W in the Arbitration," the suit states.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs seek from defendant Entergy Texas the full balance of any property held for CT&W, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

They will be represented by Larry Chek and Robert K. Mitchell of Palmer and Manuel in Dallas.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Case No. A190-224

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