Former client sues Galveston attorney Griffin for losing case
A Jefferson County man claims his former attorney caused him to lose a court case for sexual discrimination damages after the attorney failed to timely file required paperwork.
Kevin Mark Correia filed a lawsuit June 4 in Jefferson County District Court against Anthony P. Griffin.
In his complaint, Correia claims he had hired Griffin to represent him in a sex discrimination lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In exchange for Griffin's services, Correia paid $10,000 cash, plus a contingent fee contract, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 5, 2008, Griffin filed the lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons and various officials. In response, the defendants in the case filed a motion to dismiss on April 23, 2009, saying that there was lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the suit states.
Griffin failed to respond to the motion, and Correia's complaint was dismissed, the complaint says.
"The court held that the lawsuit had not been filed against the proper defendant, who was the Attorney General of the United States, and Plaintiff was not entitled to relief against the named defendants in their individual capacities," the suit states.
In turn, Griffin filed a motion for relief from the judgment, saying that his office had suffered damages from Hurricane Ike - which struck Sept. 13, 2008 - and experienced severe computer problems. The district court found Griffin's reasons unpersuasive and affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, Correia claims.
Griffin attempted to hide his mistakes from Correia and filed a motion to reinstate. Not until after the district court denied any relief did Griffin inform Correia of the failure of the lawsuit, according to the complaint.
"In a letter dated September 14, 2009, Griffin disclosed the developments he had hidden from plaintiff," the suit states. "Griffin stated that he would appeal to the Fifth Circuit to attempt to reverse his error and to protect Plaintiff's rights."
Although he filed the promised appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court upheld the lower court's ruling to dismiss the complaint. Griffin failed to inform Correia of the failed attempt, the complaint says.
"Griffin's apparent motive in concealing the Fifth Circuit's decision was that keeping Plaintiff in the dark might permit limitations to run on his malpractice claim," the suit states.
Correia alleges Griffin breached his fiduciary duty and engaged in gross negligence.
In his complaint, Correia is seeking actual and punitive damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.
David L. Tolin of The Tolin Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing him.
The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.
Case No. D192-531