A local judge has dismissed a case brought by two Beaumont law firms, who alleged their clients tried to avoid paying attorneys' fees by terminating their services as a case neared settlement.

According to the complaint filed Oct. 28, Stephen N. Williams, The Williams Firm, Mitchell A. Toups and Weller, Green, Toups and Terrell claim they began working for defendants Monica Ann Williams, Lois Johnston, Miki Kay Wright, Michelle Lynn Stroud, Lacy MeShawn Johnston, 1699 Investments, Bielau Oaks, Central Asia Trading, Windmill Ridge Enterprises, A.J. Hauling-Texas, A.J. Crane Texas and A.J. Crane in 2006.

Court records show that on March 20 an agreed order of dismissal with prejudice was entered in the case, granting plaintiffs' motion to non-suit the defendants.

The suit alleged that the defendants hired the plaintiffs to represent them in a suit they filed regarding contractual issues in connection with crane work and associated services performed in Azerbaijan.

After obtaining settlement terms with BP, the former defendants requested the law firms travel to Dubai to attempt a resolution with other defendants, the suit states.

"WGTT and TWF made substantial headway with regard to a resolution of the contract disputes related to the Caspian Sea Project and had already spent more than 18 months working on the case for Johnston/AJC without complaint by Johnston," the suit states. "WGTT and TWF had reached a tentative settlement with one Defendant BP, and were working on settlement terms with another Defendant as of December 2008."

However, Johnston and A.J. Crane suddenly terminated the law firms' representation on Aug. 18, 2009, without cause and withdrew their consent to any settlement with BP, the plaintiffs claimed.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, presided over the case.

Case No. A188-708

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