Houston attorney Steve Mostyn must have been feeling cocky when he attended a hearing held by the Texas House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence back in 2010. The hearing, attended by tort reformers and trial attorneys, was called to address the problem of barratry in our state.
At that time and in that forum, Mostyn publicly affirmed that barratry is a problem in these parts and haughtily suggested that district attorneys should be pressured to prosecute “swindlers.”
Perhaps he didn't realize that some other attendees might wonder about his use of the S word, or maybe he took for granted that he was much too clever to ever be challenged or held accountable for some of his tactics.
Mostyn may not be feeling quite so sure of himself anymore. That's because he seems to be on a losing streak and has good reason to be concerned about the future.
Last November, State Farm defeated an attempt by Mostyn's firm to inflate the claim of Hidalgo County homeowners who'd already accepted a settlement for 2012 hail damage.
This January, State Farm triumphed over another Mostyn client trying to get more money for 2012 hail damage to her Dallas County home after she too had already accepted compensation.
The month before that, a former client filed suit against Mostyn for inflating a storm policy claim for damage caused by Hurricane Ike, then quitting on him when the insurer balked, and leaving the claimant-client liable for the company's legal bills.
Tony Nouri filed an amended third-party petition against Mostyn, et al. to make sure that the parties responsible for inflating the claim would pay their share of those bills.
Mostyn moved to sever and abate the third-party claim, but Judge Debra Ibarra Mayfield of the 165th District Court recently denied his motion. The trial is set for December.
The next time he's tempted to comment on barratry and swindlers, Mostyn may want to remain silent.