PA firm accused of spending 300k trust without permission

David Yates Jul. 31, 2012, 7:23am


The daughter of the late John Harvey Strozier is accusing a Port Arthur law firm of spending more than $300,000 of her father's money without permission.

Representing her father's estate, Stephanie Nichols filed suit against attorney James Wimberley and his firm, McPherson, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley, Steel, Chatelain & Williams, on July 26 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the lawsuit, from November 2009 to Oct. 19, 2010, Strozier had an attorney-client relationship with the firm. He issued two checks to the firm totaling $313,000 to hold in trust, allegedly for a possible future joint venture with another entity.

Upon investigation, there does not appear to be any documentation indicating Strozier ever authorized the firm to disburse any of the trust fund money to any party, the suit states.

"It was not until after Mr. Stozier's death on March 22, 2011, that plaintiff ... learned of this problem between the parties," the suit states.

The plaintiff is accusing the defendants of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

She is seeking actual damages in the amount of $313,000, plus punitive damages.

Houston attorney Ross Sears II of Sears Crawford represents her.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. D192-736

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