David Yates Mar. 21, 2016, 11:28am


One of Texas’ most prominent trial lawyers and mega-donors has been hit with a legal malpractice claim – the second one of its kind in less than six months.

Seeking several millions of dollars in damages, Irvin and Nancy Harrison filed suit against Steve Mostyn and his Houston firm on March 18 in Harris County District Court, alleging the Mostyn Law Firm botched their Hurricane Ike claim.

Former Mostyn attorney Michael Ramsey is also named as a defendant.

As previously reported, Mostyn was recently non-suited from a malpractice claim also brought by a former Ike client, in which the plaintiff claimed the trial lawyer abandoned him after his lawsuit soured, leaving him on the hook for the defendant insurer’s substantial defense costs.

In the suit brought by the Harrisons, the couple asserts the defendants “concealed” certain “facts” from them. More specifically, the plaintiffs claim they were lied to and misled about the progress of their flood damage claim.

“Harrison filed this action to address the damages they suffered as a result of defendants’ negligence and malicious intent to cover-up their actions involving plaintiff’s property flood damage claims without their knowledge,” the suit states.

When Ike struck in September 2008, the Harrisons say they suffered wind and flood damage to their Crystal Beach home. The couple sought the services of the Mostyn Law Firm, which reaped hundreds of millions of dollars suing insurers in the aftermath of the hurricane.

The firm was to pursue a claim for windstorm damage against the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and a second claim for flood damage against Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance.

On June 21, 2010, the plaintiffs entered into a power of attorney contract with the defendants. A month later, the firm sent a demand letter to Fidelity for full payment, the suit states.

On July 27, 2010, Fidelity denied the couple’s claim. More than three years later, a lawsuit followed on Aug. 22, 2013, which was filed past the two-year deadline, according to the suit.

In its rejection letter, Fidelity stated federal law allowed an appeal within 60 days.

“Unbeknownst to Harrison, Mostyn failed to appeal,” the suit states. “In April 2014, Harrison met with Ramsey. Ramsey acknowledged that Harrison’s flood damage claims had been mishandled.

“Harrison was lied to, misled and put off about the status, facts and progress in connection with the flood damage claims.”

As a result, the couple was unable to repair their home and Bank of America eventually foreclosed on the property, the suit states.

The defendants are accused of deceptive trade practices, gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.

The Harrisons are seeking $1 million in compensatory damages, trebled, plus exemplary damages of $1 million against each individual defendant.

Houston attorney Steven Engelhardt represents them.

Case No. 2016-17701

More News