Local attorney says suit against him was in error

Marilyn Tennissen Dec. 13, 2011, 7:00am


Beaumont attorney Jonathan Juhan says a suit against him by the State Office of Risk Management was filed in error.

As the Southeast Texas Record reported last week, SORM filed suit against Juhan on Dec. 1 in Jefferson County District Court, seeking to collect worker's compensation benefits paid to one of Juhan's clients.

Juhan represented Sjolanda Brown in litigation filed in February 2008. Brown had been in an automobile collision two years earlier. She received worker's compensation benefits from SORM in the amount of $17,510.

On Aug. 19, 2010, Juhan entered into an agreement with SORM, agreeing that the entity would be reimbursed for the benefits paid to Brown, as required by the Texas Labor Code, after he settled the case.

A month later, SORM learned the case had been disposed by means of non-suit. SORM claimed it never received the reimbursement from Juhan.

In correspondence with the Record, Juhan said he settled Brown's case and that the state agreed to a reduction, which was sent to the insurance company.

"The liability insurance company issued a check directly to the State. I never heard a single word about it," he wrote in an email. "I, of course, assumed everything was taken care of."

After learning about the suit only after reading it in the Southeast Texas Record, Juhan contacted the insurer, who verified that the check was issued to SORM, but never cashed, likely due to a clerical error. He said the insurer told him a new check is being sent to the state, which will resolve the matter.

Juhan also contact Assistant Attorney General Kevin Molina, who filed the suit on behalf of SORM.

Juhan wrote that Molina is "going to nonsuit this frivolous case."

"He (Molina) personally apologized to me for filing this case," Juhan wrote.

"I am very ethical," he wrote. "I put all my clients first. As a matter of fact, I have never taken a full fee in any case I have ever handled."

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