Southeast Texas Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cheaters cheat, that’s what they do

Our View

Jan 15, 2020

General court 4

If your current spouse was previously married and breached that contract to have an affair with you, you can’t claim ignorance or victim status if you’re the next one cheated on. Cheaters cheat. That’s what they do. You of all people should know that, having demonstrated that you approved of cheating and were willing to facilitate it when you were the beneficiary.

If you’re a plaintiff’s attorney and your partners at the law firm have cheated to maximize settlements, you shouldn’t be surprised if they try to cheat you at some point, too, maybe by unilaterally reducing your agreed-upon share of the loot. After all, you knew about the cheating and were happy to participate in it until you got double-crossed.

In 2014, federal bankruptcy Judge George Hodges ruled that plaintiff attorneys from the Houston law firm of Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas had engaged in unethical practices to maximize recovery against Garlock Sealing Technologies. He denounced “the effort by some plaintiffs and their lawyers to withhold evidence of exposure to other asbestos products and to delay filing claims against bankrupt defendants’ asbestos trusts until after obtaining recoveries from Garlock.”

Assertions made by the attorneys and their clients in the suit against Garlock varied dramatically from assertions they made in trust claims.

“The strategy of suppressing evidence of plaintiffs’ exposures to the bankrupts’ products was designed to maximize plaintiffs’ and their counsel’s recoveries by driving up Garlock’s settlement and defense costs and litigation risk, thus compelling Garlock to settle many cases that were lacking in merit,” asbestos litigation scholar Lester Brickman noted at the time.

Just two weeks ago, on the day before New Year’s Eve, Steven Kherkher – the Kherkher of Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas (now known as Williams Hart Boundas & Easterby) – filed a breach of contract suit in Harris County District Court against the firm and partner John Eddie Williams.

Last January, when Kherkher announced that he was planning to leave the firm, his partners persuaded him to stay on and agreed to pay him the remaining balance of his capital account ($9.2 million) in 48 monthly payments, a deal Williams soon reneged on.

“Because Kherkher had seen over the course of his 29 years at the Partnership how the year-end capital account balance would often be reduced after reconciliation, the $9.2 million figure was agreed upon as a set number and specific to term to the New Agreement,” Kherkher claims in his suit.

It took Kherker 29 years to realize that cheaters cheat?

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