Justices transfer part of suit over settlement funds to Harris County

By David Yates | Oct 18, 2013


The Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals on Thursday transferred part of a medical practice’s suit against a law firm that seeks money from a settlement fund.

Health and Medical Practice Associates claims it treated a client of attorney Michael Nacol. The client then agreed to repay Health and Medical Practice Associates any money he received from a settlement related to his injury, according to the complaint filed Aug. 30, 2012, in Jefferson County District Court.

Although Health and Medical Practice Associates has repeatedly demanded the money from Nacol, his law firm refuses to pay the company, the suit states.

Court records show Lori Brown and Jeff Musslewhite of Brown & Musslewhite, who are also defendants in the suit, filed a motion to transfer venue since most of the claims in the suit took place in Harris County.

However, Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, denied the motion to transfer on April 9, prompting Brown and Musslewhite to file an appeal two weeks later.

“This is an interlocutory, accelerated appeal from the trial court’s ruling denying the defendants’ motions to transfer venue in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit,” states the Ninth Court’s opinion, authored by Justice Charles Kreger.

“We affirm the trial court’s order denying defendant’s motion to transfer venue with respect to plaintiff Health & Medical Practice Associates, Inc. We reverse the trial court’s order with respect to plaintiff-intervenor American Horizon Financial Group, LLP, and remand to the trial court with instructions to transfer its cause to Harris County, Texas.”

While Health and Medical Practice Associates pleaded sufficient facts to show that venue is proper in Jefferson County, justices concluded that American Horizon failed to produce sufficient evidence to satisfy its burden, the opinion states.

In their appeal, Brown and Musslewhite asked: “Did the trial court commit reversible error by denying Appellants’ Motion to Transfer Venue as to Appellee Health &Medical Practice Associates, Inc. as a substantial part of the events and omissions giving rise to its causes of action occurred in Harris County, not in Jefferson County?”

In addition to the money it seeks, Health and Medical Practice Associates is asking for pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, court costs and other relief the court deems just.

Brown and Musslewhite are represented in part by Houston attorney Jerry Young.

Health and Medical Practice Associates is represented by John Werner and Glen Morgan of Reaud, Morgan and Quinn in Beaumont.

Trial Court Case No. B192-976

Appeals Court Case No. 09-13-00192-CV

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