HOUSTON – When Steve Mostyn answered a legal malpractice suit brought against him earlier this year, the Houston attorney called the action “groundless” and “brought for the purpose of harassment,” requesting the court award him sanctions.
Three months later, the plaintiffs who sued him filed a motion to non-suit without prejudice, which was granted on Sept. 9, court records show.
Seeking several millions of dollars in damages, plaintiffs Irvin and Nancy Harrison filed suit against Mostyn and the Mostyn Law Firm on March 18 in Harris County District Court, alleging the firm botched their Hurricane Ike claim.
Former Mostyn attorney Michael Ramsey was also named as a defendant.
On June 1 Mostyn filed his original answer, asserting the Harrisons “purposefully” omitted from their pleadings the “fact their flood claims were time-barred” before they even sought representation from the firm.
“Plaintiffs’ causes of action have no basis in law or fact, which plaintiffs and their attorney knew and should have known prior to filing,” the answer states. “Plaintiffs causes of action are groundless and brought for the purpose of harassment.”
Mostyn further argued that the couple omits that, through the firm’s efforts, they recovered a settlement from FEMA.
In their suit, the couple claimed the defendants “concealed” certain “facts” from them. More specifically, the Harrisons claimed they were lied to and misled about the progress of their flood damage claim.
When Ike struck in September 2008, the Harrisons say they suffered wind and flood damage to their Crystal Beach home. The couple sought the services of the Mostyn Law Firm, which reaped hundreds of millions of dollars suing insurers in the aftermath of the hurricane.
The firm was to pursue a claim for windstorm damage against the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and a second claim for flood damage against Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance.
On June 21, 2010, the plaintiffs entered into a power of attorney contract with the defendants. A month later, the firm sent a demand letter to Fidelity for full payment, the suit states.
On July 27, 2010, Fidelity denied the couple’s claim. More than three years later, a lawsuit followed on Aug. 22, 2013, which was filed past the two-year deadline, according to the suit.
In its rejection letter, Fidelity stated federal law allowed an appeal within 60 days.
“Unbeknownst to Harrison, Mostyn failed to appeal,” the suit states. “In April 2014, Harrison met with Ramsey. Ramsey acknowledged that Harrison’s flood damage claims had been mishandled.
“Harrison was lied to, misled and put off about the status, facts and progress in connection with the flood damage claims.”
As a result, the couple was unable to repair their home and Bank of America eventually foreclosed on the property, the suit states.
The Harrisons were seeking $1 million in compensatory damages, trebled, plus exemplary damages of $1 million against each individual defendant.
Houston attorney Steven Engelhardt represented them.
Mostyn was represented by Randal Cashiola, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Cashiola & Bean.
Case No. 2016-17701