Tentative settlement reached in highly publicized AkinMears lawsuit

By David Yates | Nov 11, 2015

A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought against AkinMears by a former employee who alleges the Houston firm, which he describes as a “mort tort warehouse,” fired him to avoid paying him millions of dollars.

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.

A little more than a month into the litigation, the parties have reached a tentative settlement, according to Brian Melton, a Susman Godfrey attorney representing the AkinMears law firm.

Although no record of settlement is on file as of Nov. 11, Melton says he expects the litigation to be fully resolved within the next six months.

The attorney did not give details of the tentative settlement and said he could not comment on the case any further.

Case history

Court records show that 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, on Nov. 2 AkinMears withdrew the motion to permanently seal, contending the damage has already been done by the “wave of media attention” already generated by the lawsuit.

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.

Also noteworthy, 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.

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.

In addition to Melton, AkinMears is also represented by Allan Neighbors, attorney for the Houston law firm Littler Mendelson.

Case No. 2015-57942

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