In the face of continued coverage from national media outlets, AkinMears has withdrawn its motion to permanently seal a lawsuit alleging questionable business dealings committed by the Houston law firm.
As previously reported, Amir Shenaq filed suit against AkinMears partners Truett Akin IV and Michelle Mears on Sept. 29 in Harris County District Court.
Shenaq, the firm’s former chief business development officer, contends AkinMears fired him to avoid paying him more than $4 million for 14,000 medical mesh lawsuits he acquired for the firm.
On Oct. 1 AkinMears moved to have the petition sealed, contending Shenaq unnecessarily disclosed trade secret information in order to intentionally financially harm the firm.
Citing irreparable harm, on Oct. 7 Judge Randy Wilson, 157th Judicial District, signed off on an agreed temporary sealing order, stating both parties consented.
A hearing on a more permanent sealing was slated for Nov. 6.
However, AkinMears has now withdrawn the motion, contending the damage has already been done by the “wave of media attention” already generated by the lawsuit.
“An order permanently sealing Shenaq’s Original Petition and Request for Disclosure therefore will not have the mitigating effect AkinMears believed it would have when initially filing its Motion to Seal a Court Record,” the motion states.
“To the contrary, further efforts to seal the petition will have the opposite effect – more attention and further dissemination.
“It is, therefore, Defendant’s sincere belief that it is in the best interests of its clients and business associates to stop its efforts to permanently seal the document.”
In his suit, Shenaq claimed:
• The source of AkinMears’ financing was Virage Capital Management and Gerchen Keller Capital;
• The amounts of financing obtained, WAS around $93 million from GKC;
• Shenaq knew the settlement values of cases, borrowing costs, actual and potential fees received, commissions paid and confidential deal terms related to the purchase of a transvaginal mesh docket, which, according to the petition, boasted around 14,000 cases potentially worth up to $200 million.
In its motion to seal, AkinMears had argued Shenaq’s disclosure would enable competitors to copy its business model, which includes spending large sums of money on thousands of television advertisements to drum up as many faceless clients as possible, according to the petition.
As previously reported, trial lawyers are expected to spend nearly $900 million on broadcast advertising in 2015 with AkinMears leading the way with $25 million, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which owns the Record.
AkinMears has passed on the Nov. 6 hearing “without waiving any legal rights related to Shenaq’s improper disclosure of AkinMears’ confidential, proprietary, and trade-secret information,” the motion to withdraw states.
Shenaq is suing for actual, general and special damages, plus attorney’s fees.
He is represented by Kenneth Wall, attorney for the Houston law firm Oaks, Hartline & Daly.
AkinMears is represented in part by Allan Neighbors, attorney for the Houston law firm Littler Mendelson.
Case No. 2015-57942