Apffel denies Buzbee's allegations in hurricane litigation fee dispute

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | May 27, 2011


GALVESTON - Galveston attorney Darrell Apffel and his law firm Bettison, Doyle, Apffel & Guarino provided a local state district court their response to The Buzbee Law Firm's lawsuit against them.

In an original answer filed May 16 in the Galveston County 122nd District Court, the firm contests "each and every, all and singular, the allegations contained in the plaintiff's original petition and demand strict proof thereof."

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, Galveston attorney Tony Buzbee filed a lawsuit April 19 in the same court, claiming Apffel's firm used his name and reputation to land Hurricane Ike clients and settle their cases with various insurers.

The original petition shows Apffel, who is also a justice of the peace, and Bettison Doyle recruited Buzbee to help them with the suits "because Buzbee's involvement in the lawsuits would substantially increase the value of the cases."

Both parties agreed in writing for Buzbee to receive 5 percent of all fees generated by their individual Ike suits and 50 percent of a large commercial claim in exchange for use of Buzbee's name, the suit states.

Buzbee argues that the defendants did not properly compensate him though he upheld his part of the contract, stating their actions damaged his reputation and subjected him to malpractice claims.

He seeks compensatory and punitive damages and attorney's fees as well as a jury trial.

The defendants "pray that the plaintiff take nothing by its suit against them," recent court documents say.

Attorneys Timothy A. Beeton of Galveston and James C. Crawford of Houston are representing Apffel and Doyle Bettison.

Case No. 11-cv-0665

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