Beaumont attorney sued for legal malpractice

By Kelly Holleran | May 19, 2010

A Beaumont woman has filed a legal malpractice suit against her former attorney, alleging he failed to adequately represent her in litigation regarding the sale of a home.

Lisa Adams alleges she first contacted defendant P. Dean Brinkley of defendant Chambers, Templeton, Thomas and Brinkley LLP in Beaumont in November and December 2006 to ask for representation in a lawsuit she anticipated filing against Cassie E. Willey.

Adams intended to file the complaint against Willey for conversion, self-dealing, fraud, misrepresentation and tortious interference with inheritance, according to her newest complaint filed May 7 in Jefferson County District Court.

Adams told Brinkley she had recently filed a request for a declaratory judgment in a case involving a correction deed Frances Adams had filed in February 2006, and Lisa Adams was attempting to appeal it, the suit states.

Lisa Adams hired Brinkley to file a suit and to challenge Frances Adams' original deed, the complaint says. Lisa Adams claims she stressed the need for Brinkley to file suit immediately to prevent the impending sale of a home described in the deed.

On Jan. 12, 2007, Lisa Adams paid Brinkley, according to the complaint. Brinkley promised Lisa Adams he would file her complaint the following Monday and would immediately file a temporary restraining order regarding the sale of the home, the suit states.

"Prior to Jan. 12, 2007, Plaintiff and Defendant had extensive conversations regarding the facts and her expectations, including that he was to construct the original petition in a vague enough manner so as not to 'paint her into a corner' pending discovery," the complaint says.

Despite his promises, Brinkley failed to file the lawsuit until Jan. 22, 2007, and failed to file a temporary restraining order, Lisa Adams claims. In turn, the house was sold on Jan. 12, 2007, according to the complaint.

Since the house had been sold, Brinkley told Lisa Adams that she should let her appeal lapse � advice Lisa Adams followed to her detriment, the suit states.

In addition, Brinkley filed the findings of fact on Jan. 12, 2007, without showing Lisa Adams the document, which contained errors that destroyed many of her causes of action against Willey including fraud, the complaint says.

He performed a number of other acts Lisa Adams claims damaged her, such as failing to inform her that she could have still filed other claims, concealing conversations from her with opposing counsel and forcing her to discuss confidential information in the foyer of a building, she alleges.

"Defendant did no substantial work on Plaintiff's behalf beyond the filing of the original petition, repeatedly claiming to lose evidence, while demanding more money," the suit states. "Defendant refused to explain matters to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client, Lisa Adams, to make informed decisions regarding the representation. Defendants treated the entire representation as a joke."

When Lisa Adams approached Brinkley about her discontent with his performance, he claimed he was afraid because he had already been sued for malpractice, the complaint says.

Brinkley eventually withdrew from Lisa Adams' case after the opposing counsel attempted to begin discovery, but advised she file a bill of review or nunc pro tunc to revise the earlier court ruling, she says.

"He finally admitted that the costs of a bill of review would run in the possible tens of thousands," the suit states. "Nevertheless, Plaintiff was left to twist in the wind. Defendants, Brinkley and Chambers, refused to mitigate or provide assistance."

Lisa Adams claims her attorneys "abandoned her and left her without representation."

When Lisa Adams threatened to file a complaint against Brinkley, he told her it would be groundless and that he would in turn sue her for defamation, according to her complaint.

"On information and belief, Plaintiff asserts Defendant Brinkley 'bad-mouthed' and slandered Plaintiff to attorneys she sought to hire, telling them that she'd 'had all these attorneys' among other things when in fact he was the only person ever hired in the case at that point," the suit states. "On March 25, the court ruled against Plaintiff in Summary Judgment on the issue of res judicata due to Defendant's acts and omissions."

Lisa Adams alleges negligence, negligence per se, gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

She is seeking actual and punitive damages, plus other relief the court deems just.

She will be appearing pro se.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A186-814.

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