BEAUMONT – For more than a quarter of a century Paul “Chip” Ferguson worked at Provost Umphrey, bringing in tens of millions more in attorney’s fees than the equity partners who booted him out the front door.
From the firm’s inception until Dec. 31, 2014, Provost Umphrey attorneys hauled in around $1.2 billion in fees, with the largest chunk of those earnings coming from firm founder Walter Umphrey, who brought in more than $284 million, according to accounts receivable receipts obtained by the Record.
Coming in second is Ferguson, who brought in nearly $60 million in attorney’s fees during his 26 years with Provost Umphrey.
Finishing third in that time frame is Gregory Thompson at $40 million.
Deserving of an honorable mention, former PU attorney Brent Coon, who handled a lot of asbestos litigation during his time with the firm, netted more than $37 million in fees.
While the receipts don’t itemize a PU attorney’s specific earnings, they do show a large chunk of the firm’s fees came from asbestos litigation, with a total of $221,091,427.40 in asbestos fees collected.
The firm also netted $12.2 million in silicosis fees.
Among PU’s current equity partners, James Payne leads the pack with $27 million bagged.
Fee earnings for the other equity partners include:
- Bryan Blevins with $18.1 million;
- Edward Fisher with $13.2 million;
- Joe Fisher with $17.5 million;
- D’Juana Parks with $20.3 million; and
- David Willson with $23 million.
Blevins, a past Texas Trial Lawyers Association president, reportedly had Ferguson booted off the firm’s premises under threat of armed escort back in August of 2015.
The two sides had been locked in litigation since until reaching a settlement in February.
While there are dozens of PU attorneys who have earned a million and above, the past and present firm attorneys with the most impressive fee totals include:
- Keith Hyde, who handles the firm’s benzene litigation, with $25 million;
- Darren Brown, another toxic tort specialist, with $21.5 million;
- Michael Hamilton with $24.3 million;
- David Brandom with $20.5 million;
- Guy Fisher with $17.1 million;
- Joe Kendall with $24.6 million; and
- James Morris with $14.3 million.
The earning totals of other past and present PU attorneys are:
- Aaryn Giblin $2.4 million;
- Michael Hamilton $9.5 million;
- Larry Hunter $1.4 million;
- Christopher Kirchmer $10.7 million;
- Jane Leger $15.4 million;
- Matt Matheny $6.7 million;
- Colin Moore $265,002.48;
- Thomas McGowan $6 million;
- Sue Ryall $253,971;
- Ryan Schaper $2.3 million;
- Jennifer Seale $1.5 million;
- Douglas Sikes $5.8 million;
- Mark Sparks $8.8 million;
- Ronnie Turner $1.1 million;
- John Cowan $579,934;
- Cody Dishon $277,048;
- Leonard Giblin $2,395;
- Bernard Middleton $600,377;
- Lee Anderson $373,004;
- Tracy Buschner $263,505;
- Warren Clark $1.6 million;
- Rodney Barnwell $3.9 million;
- Lance Bradley $3.9 million;
- David Brandom $20.5 million;
- Jeff Branick $1.5 million;
- Jeff. R. Branick $4.2 million;
- Jesse Branick $1.7 million;
- Charles Carver $1.4 million;
- Jill Chatelain $3.5 million;
- Christopher Coco $5.8 million;
- Richard Coffman $1.1 million;
- Gregory Cox $6 million;
- Diane Dwight $11.3 million;
- Gerald Eddins $2.6 million;
- Tim Ferguson $3.2 million;
- Robert J. Giblin $5 million;
- Reuben Guttman $3.8 million;
- Michael Hennen $4.3 million;
- Richard Hughes $1.5 million;
- Mark Lane $4 million;
- Brian McCafferty $2.5 million;
- Nick Palmarozzi $3 million;
- Ronald Plessala $1.6 million;
- Michael Ramsey $9.3 million;
- Phyllis Rogers $1.4 million;
- Art Sadin $4.2 million;
- Glenn Steele $2.8 million;
- Thomas Thomas $4.5 million;
- Andy Tindel $9.2 million;
- Ken Whitlow $5.3 million;
- Matthew Willis $2.1 million;
- James Wimberly $2.5 million;
- Jay Youngdahl $1.4 million; and
- David Provost $593,950.09.
Blevins has yet to respond to a request for comment.