HOUSTON – A Houston woman is suing a public adjusting firm for $200,000 in damages, claiming she was fired for questioning the company’s “propriety.”
Alleging fraud and breach of contract, Renee Holt Davey filed suit against The Disaster Advocates on April 20 in Harris County.
Disaster Advocates, a public adjusting firm owned by Lindsay Douglass, enters into contracts with policyholders to negotiate claim settlements with insurance carriers.
From June 1, 2014 to April 2015, Davey helped secure clients for Disaster Advocates. Her employment contract provided a base salary, plus a 1 percent commission taken from the amounts paid by insurers.
“In April 2015, plaintiff (Davey) approached Lindsey Douglass with concerns about the propriety of certain (Disaster Advocates) business practices,” the suit states. “Ms. Douglass was angered by (Davey’s) comments, and she terminated (her) employment on the spot.”
Reports of adjusters referring storm victims to hail attorneys have surfaced in recent years.
The Texas Legislature is addressing this form of illegal barratry this session, as two bills were introduced in the Senate and House, respectively, to end hailstorm lawsuit abuse.
Although Davey’s suit does not elude further to as what concerns she had about the “propriety” of Disaster Advocates, the company and its owner, Douglass, are connected to hail attorneys.
On Oct. 27, 2015, Disaster Advocates and Barton & Green Joint Ventures, the agglomeration of two law firms specializing in suing insurance companies, held a “Free Advanced Contractor & Claim Workshop” in Denver.
Also, the founders of the venture, Houston attorneys Dan Barton and Robert Green, represented Douglass in her own storm claim brought against Lexington Insurance last January, according to Fort Bend County courthouse records.
In her suit, Davey says Disaster Advocates has refused to provide her with an accounting of 88 claims she brought to the company. The total value of those 88 claims is more than $24.5 million.
“To date … plaintiff has been paid only $14,029.72 on claims initially exceeding $24,544,788.61,” the suit states. “Even if one assumes the claims were settled for 50 percent of the initial claim amount … plaintiff’s commission on the claims should have been around $120,000.”
Houston attorney Alex Mabry represents Davey.
Cause No. 2017-26386