CALA urges focus on justice, not greed in case against "mass tort warehouse"

By Hanna Nakano | Oct 15, 2015

A Houston funds officer is suing the law firm he claims fired him to avoid paying him millions of dollars for the thousands of medical lawsuits he acquired for the firm.

Law firm AkinMears is being called a “mass tort warehouse” in legal documents, by plaintiff Amir Shenaq. Shenaq claims AkinMears is run like a “glorified processing center,” spending money on television ads to rake in as many clients as possible for medical cases, including victims on mesothelioma and those injured by medical products like transvaginal mesh or prescription drugs like Lipitor.

According to Shenaq’s suit, AkinMirs bought claims that had been accumulated by other tort lawyers, setting a goal to close on $100 million worth of cases in 2015 alone.

Preserving the integrity of the courtroom and of the law profession is what organizations like Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse of Central Texas were created to do.

“It’s difficult to comment on the merits of a single case, but we do advocate that our courts be used for justice, not greed,” spokesperson Jennifer Harris told the SETexas Record.

Jennifer Harris with Citizens Against Legal Abuse said frivolous and abusive litigation can hurt the state of Texas’ economy and jobs outlook.

“Employers look closely at a state’s legal climate when choosing a location to expand or relocate,” Harris told the Record. “When it comes to lawsuit abuse, we all pay – and we all lose.”

According to the suit, Shenaq forged a relationship with Chicago-based Gerchen Keller Capital, one of the largest litigation funders in the world. On April 24, GKC wired $25 million to Virage Capital Management to pay off a portion of AkinMirs’ debt, and another $25 million to AkinMears’ bank account. Shenaq says he was paid about $1.4 million and was promised another $1 million in 18 months.

Shenaq then reached out to Dallas trial lawyer Mazin Sbaiti and purchased nearly 14,000 transvaginal mesh cases using the money from GKC, according to the suit. Shenaq’s calculations showed AkinMears bringing in $200 million in attorney’s fees from the purchased cases, then sold the cases to another firm for $45 million, according to the suit.

Before leaving on vacation in July, Shenaq sent an email to Akin outlining what the firm owed him for his work, which was more than $4.2 million. Upon returning home, Akin launced a “full-on assault” against Shenaq, the suit claims.

The following weekend, Shenaq’s wife tried to fill prescriptions for their infant twins who were sick, but her health insurance, through the firm, was declined and no longer in effect as of July 31. Shenaq says he then found out he had been terminated.

Shenaq’s case was filed in Harris County District Court, case number 2015-57942.

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