A Beaumont law firm is being accused of legal malpractice, allegedly neglecting a product liability case while all the while leading their former client, who was purportedly offered $20,000 to settle before suing, to believe litigation was still ongoing when in fact it was not.
Seeking more than $500,000 in damages, Rachael Coe (Stevens) filed suit against Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell on March 8 in Jefferson County District Court.
In July 2013, Coe, through Weller Green, filed a lawsuit against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.
She claimed the intrauterine system Mirena, a contraceptive device, migrated into her abdominal cavity and she needed surgery to remove it.
Three years before the filing of her suit, Coe had sought the services of Adam Terrell of Weller Green. From September 2010 to January 2013, she believed the firm was pursuing her claims.
In February 2013, Terrell allegedly told Coe he would not be pursuing the claim. After the lawyer’s purported withdraw, she turned to the Provost Umphrey Law Firm.
“Coe then contacted Terrell and requested a copy of her file to deliver to Provost Umphrey so they could further pursue her claims,” the suit states. “However, concerned that Provost Umphrey would discover his lack of diligence, Terrell advised Coe that his firm would continue to handle her case and not withdrawal.”
Terrell then advised Coe against filing suit, telling her nothing would come out of it – a move she believes was meant to hide his negligence in allowing the statute of limitations to lapse.
Coe maintains that she once again requested her file so PU could pursue the claim. The very next day, Terrell filed a lawsuit on her behalf. A year later the case was dismissed because the firm allegedly failed to comply with an order, the suit alleges.
Even if the defendant firm had complied with the order, Coe says her case would have eventually been dismissed since the statute of limitations had elapsed by nearly a full year prior to the suit being filed.
“To add insult to injury, the lawyers attempted to conceal their wrongdoing, misrepresenting material facts designed to lead plaintiff to believe that her claims were ongoing and moving forward even after plaintiff’s suit had been dismissed due the lawyers’ gross malfeasance,” the suit states.
“Coe eventually discovered that her … case had been dismissed after she received a copy of the dismissal from another source.”
Coe asserts Terrell finally admitted that he had “dropped the ball” by missing the file date and offered her $20,000 to settle a potential malpractice claim.
The Kassab Law Firm in Houston is representing her.
Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. D-198254