BEAUMONT – The Provost Umphrey Law Firm and equity partner James Payne have been hit with a legal malpractice lawsuit seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Leticia Loya filed the suit Nov. 29 in Harris County District Court, alleging negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
According to the lawsuit, on April 30, 2013, Loya retained PU to represent her in an ongoing lawsuit against Tindall & England and the Tinsel Group over the value of shares sold to Miguel Loya.
While the case was on appeal, Loya’s lead counsel, Jennifer Job, left PU and the firm allegedly “failed to take appropriate steps to notify the court of appeals that Job no longer worked for the Law Firm and no longer had involvement in the appeal.”
“Also, the Law Firm failed to substitute new lead appellate counsel, James Payne, as counsel of record in the appellate matters so that Payne would receive notice of the court of appeals’ decisions,” the suit states.
“Because the Law Firm failed to designate new lead counsel and further failed to instruct the court of appeals where to send notices … opinions and rulings continued to go Job’s now-vacant email address at the Law Firm, even though Job was no longer there to receive the emails.”
Following an unfavorable ruling, PU, allegedly unaware of the opinion, “allowed” 90 days to pass before taking action. The firm filed a motion to extend time, which was rejected.
In her suit, Loya claims she pressed Payne on the status of the appeal but was told that he "wanted to let sleeping dogs lie."
On June 22, the Texas Supreme court affirmed the refusal to extend time to file a motion for rehearing.
“As a result of the wrongdoing of the Law Firm and James Payne, Loya was left with no recourse or remedy,” the suit states. “The Defendants’ failure to file a motion for rehearing and petition for review was not strategic, but instead negligent.”
Houston attorney Chris Flood represents Loya.
Case No. 2018-85191