California resident Sharon Wallace originally filed suit against The Voss Law Firm on Dec. 1 in the Superior Court of California, Sacramento, seeking punitive damages for allegedly missing the filing deadline on her claim and forging her signature.
The firm had the case removed to federal court on March 29, court records show.
The complaint alleges the firm botched an insurance suit brought on Wallace’s behalf by filing it past the statute of limitations.
Court records show that on June 6 Voss and Scott Hunziker, a managing partner at the firm, filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court does not have personal jurisdiction and the facts alleged in the complaint fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted.
The defendants also moved to strike Wallace’s claims for punitive damages, asserting there are no facts that the attorneys acted with malice, oppression or fraud.
If the court declines to dismiss, Voss and Hunziker request the case be transferred to Texas’ Southern District.
A hearing on the matter was held on July 20. As of Sept. 7, no ruling is on file, court records show.
In her suit, Wallace says she hired The Voss Law Firm on June 15, 2013 to represent her in a breach of contract claim against her insurer, Mercury Insurance Group.
According to court documents, a fire destroyed Wallace’s home on April 30, 2012. After an inspection, Mercury denied the claim, citing arson.
In her suit against Voss, Wallace says she was out of town visiting relatives at the time and the reasons are unknown to her as to why Mercury denied the claim.
A suit was brought against the carrier in state court through the Encino-based Price Law Group on May 21, 2014 (a month after the statute of limitations) and ultimately dismissed five months later.
The Voss Law Firm often subcontracts out-of-state lawsuits to law firms within the state where the incident giving rise to the litigation transpired.
Wallace also accuses the firm of “blatantly” forging her signature and filing documents after the deadline, in the wrong venue, without her permission.
She further alleges the firm acted with reckless disregard for her rights, entitling her to punitive damages.
Wallace is acting as her own attorney.
The Voss Law Firm is represented by William Munoz and Heather Barnes, attorneys for the Sacramento law firm Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney.
Filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern California, case No. 2:16-cv-00656