If you hire a lawyer to sue someone, make sure you pay them or they may sue you – that was the lesson learned by John and Cassie Neves this past week.
Jefferson County jurors recently awarded the Lewis Law Firm more than $98,000 in damages, concluding the Neveses, owners of a used car dealership, failed to pay the firm for legal services rendered.
The trial began Oct. 11 in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court. Halfway through, the trial was moved to the 136th District Court, Judge Milton Shuffield presiding. A verdict was finally filed Oct. 20 in Jefferson County District Court.
The Lewis Law Firm represented the Beaumont couple in 2005. The Neveses hired the firm, founded by attorney Clint W. Lewis, after a buyer refused to make payments on a vehicle.
Court records show that in December 2009, the Lewis Law Firm filed suit against its past clients, alleging the Neveses owed $45,767.70 in attorney's fees.
"The plaintiff is a business that rendered legal services to defendants, for which defendants have refused to pay," the suit states. "As such, defendants have breached a contract with plaintiff."
Jurors found the Neveses failed to honor their agreement with the firm, awarding $43,667.70 in legal services and fees rendered.
Jurors also awarded the firm $4,800 in consequential damages, $25,000 for trial preparation and additional $25,000 if the Neves decide to appeal.
The Neveses are represented by China attorney Allison Heider.
The Lewis law firm is represented by Beaumont attorney John Morgan.
Case No. A185-542