BEAUMONT – Amber Mostyn, the widow of Steve Mostyn, is accusing a former Mostyn Law attorney of forum shopping and seeks to have the litigation transferred out of Jefferson County.
On June 20, attorney Mark Sparks, currently a partner at The Ferguson Law Firm in Beaumont, filed a petition in intervention and request for a temporary restraining order in Jefferson County, seeking monetary claims exceeding $1 million.
Court records show Sparks intervened in a lawsuit against UPS filed in Jefferson County – a suit brought two years ago while he was still in the employ of Mostyn Law.
Sparks helped to settle the case and the funds are currently being held in a trust account at his new firm.
Sparks, who first began his legal career with Provost Umphrey, claims Steve Mostyn hired him away from PU to handle Mostyn Law’s transvaginal mesh docket, which includes thousands of cases – hundreds of which are in California, where Sparks is also licensed to practice law.
And while no written employment agreement was ever signed, Sparks contends Steve Mostyn told him how his attorneys received “seven-figure bonuses” after settling hurricane insurance dockets.
Mostyn Law reaped hundreds of millions in fees suing insurers in the wake of Hurricane Ike.
Steve Mostyn allegedly told Sparks a favorable resolution of a transvaginal mesh docket would put him in the position of receiving a seven-figure bonus.
Sparks says he continued to work in Beaumont for Mostyn Law, filing individual cases like the one against UPS for example, while traveling frequently to handle transvaginal mesh litigation.
After Steve Mostyn’s suicide in November 2017, Amber Mostyn assumed leadership and that’s when Sparks began to be cut out of what he claims he was owed, according to his petition.
“At no time during his employment with (Mostyn Law) did anyone ever question (Sparks’) work ethic, or his sacrifice of literally living on a plane for three years to head up the TVM (transvaginal mesh) litigation,” the petition states.
“No bonus was ever paid for settlement of the TVM litigation, despite an enormous amount of attorney’s fees being generated from those cases.
“In sum, despite settlement of all TVM dockets for significant sums of money, (Mostyn Law) not only refused to pay the ‘seven-figure bonus,’ but actually reduced Spark’s salary ($300,000) below the guaranteed floor.”
The alleged breach in contract led Sparks to leave the firm and join Ferguson Law.
The same day the petition was filed, Judge Justin Sanderson, 60th District Court, granted a temporary restraining order against Mostyn Law, court records show.
Sanderson and Sparks are long-time friends. Sparks introduced Sanderson at the judge’s swearing in ceremony last January.
Sanderson presided over the UPS case Sparks intervened in, which has already been settled, leaving Sparks’ claims as the only remaining dispute in the suit.
On June 28, Amber Mostyn, as the executor of Steve Mostyn’s estate, filed an emergency motion to transfer, seeking to remove Sparks’ claims to a Harris County probate court.
Amber maintains Sparks’ breach of contract claims have no relation to the Jefferson County lawsuit he intervened in, arguing that Sparks, instead of filing a standalone lawsuit, “piggybacked” his claims “in order to secure the forum of his choosing.”
“Sparks’ forum-shopping clearly worked … Sparks was able to secure an ex parte temporary restraining order against Mostyn Law without the affidavit or a verified complaint required by (Rule 683 of Texas Rules of Civil Procedure)” the motion states.
“The TRO prohibits the Mostyn Law Firm from disbursing or otherwise using any attorney’s fees received in connection with thousands of cases, including an extensive docket of transvaginal mesh cases.
“The TRO also commands the Mostyn Law Firm produce voluminous records and confidential settlement information.”
Sparks’ bond for the TRO was set at $500.
Rule 683 states: “Every order granting an injunction and every restraining order shall set forth the reasons for its issuance; shall be specific in terms; shall describe in reasonable detail and not by reference to the complaint or other document, the act or acts sought to be restrained; and is binding only upon the parties to the action, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and upon those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of the order by personal service or otherwise.”
Amber is represented by Olivia Garcia, attorney for the Houston law firm Schlanger, Silver, Barg & Paine.
Ferguson Law attorney Jane Leger is representing Sparks.
Jefferson County case No. B-198731
Harris County case No. 462732, filed in County Probate Court No. 4