Truck leasing company sues law firms for $29M, alleges defendants concealed cocaine level of driver

By John Suayan | Apr 8, 2019

HOUSTON – Attorney George W. Long, of Odessa, has a filed a $29 million state district lawsuit for a truck leasing company that alleges two firms mishandled a 2006 wrongful death case against it, recent Harris County District Court records show.

In the suit filed on Apr. 4 in the 269th District Court, Brewer Leasing, Inc. accuses George T. Jackson, formerly of the firm Burck Lapidus & Lanza in Houston, and Michael S. Hays of the firm Hays, McConn, Rice & Pickering, P.C., also in Houston, of “negligently concealing, failing to reveal, and thereafter negligently failing to disclose their previous errors with respect to the cocaine level of” one of its drivers, Charles A. Hitchens, “from all opposing counsel who represented the family and estate of the late Diane Patterson and other individuals injured in the accident with a Brewer tractor-trailer operated by Hitchens.

In the decade since the litigation was initiated, LeClairRyan acquired Hays McConn and Jackson left Burck Lapidus for Bush & Ramirez PLLC.

“Jackson, Hays, and their law firms failed negligently failed to disclose the whole truth with respect to Mr. Hitchens’ cocaine level at the time of the collision,” the suit explains.

According to court documents, the precise level of cocaine metabolite Hitchens had at the time of the collision was 43,444 ng/ml. The exclusion of the figure from the discovery process and subsequent deliberations resulted in Patterson’s survivors scoring a judgment worth nearly $9 million, which was set aside when the case was retried.

The presiding judge eventually entered a $29 million judgment against Brewer.

Harris County 269th District Court Case No. 2019-24228

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