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CAUSE NO.

2017-37567

MAE BERRY, SANDRA JOHNSON, § IN THE DISTRICT COURT


ALPHONSE BETHLEY, LISA SPECK, §
ARTHUR SPECK AND RAYMOND BUTTS §
§
V. § OF HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS
§
MICHAEL A. POHL, DONALDA POHL, §
LAW OFFICE OF MICHAEL POHL, PLLC, §
AND HELPING HANDS FINANCING, LLC § 113th JUDICIAL DISTRICT

PLAINTIFFS’ THIRD AMENDED PETITION AND REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE

TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT:

COME NOW, Plaintiffs, Mae Berry, Sandra Johnson, Alphonse Bethley, Lisa and Arthur

Speck and Raymond Butts, in their individual and representative capacities, complaining of

Defendants Michael A. Pohl, Donalda Pohl and Law Office of Michael Pohl, PLLC, and would

respectfully show as follows:

I
DISCOVERY CONTROL PLAN

Based upon this Petition, this case should be controlled by a discovery control plan Level

3 pursuant to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 190.3.

II
RULE 47 STATEMENT OF RELIEF

In accordance with Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 47, Plaintiffs seek monetary relief in

excess of $500,000. This is not an expedited action.

III
JOINDER OF PARTIES

The additional Plaintiffs join in this lawsuit pursuant to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure

37 and 40. The additional Plaintiffs are proper parties to this lawsuit and the joinder will not

delay trial. See TEX. R. CIV. P. 37. Further, Plaintiffs each assert a right to relief which arises out

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of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and there are

common questions of fact and law to all Plaintiffs. See TEX. R. CIV. P. 40. Each Plaintiff is

similarly situated in that each was improperly solicited by conduct constituting barratry under the

laws of Texas. Therefore, each Plaintiff is entitled to statutory penalties and attorney’s fees under

Texas Government Code, Section 82.0651.

IV
PARTIES

Plaintiff, Mae Berry is a resident of Picayune, Mississippi and is the surviving biological

mother of Johnny Berry, deceased, and brings this suit in her individual capacity and as

Representative of the Estate of Johnny Berry.

Plaintiffs, Sandra Johnson and Alphonse Bethley are residents of Baker, Louisiana and

the surviving biological parents of Ashley Bethley, deceased, and bring this suit in their

individual capacities and as Representatives of the Estate of Ashley Bethley.

Plaintiffs, Lisa and Arthur Speck are residents of Gulf Port, Mississippi and are the

surviving biological parents of Rebecca Dey Speck, deceased, and bring this suit in their

individual capacity and as Representatives of the Estate of Rebecca Dey Speck.

Plaintiff, Raymond Lee Butts is an individual and resident of Cumberland, Maryland and

is the surviving fiancé to Brenda Adams, deceased.

Defendant, Michael A. Pohl is an individual practicing law in Texas and has answered

herein.

Defendant, Law Office of Michael Pohl, PLLC is a Texas Professional Limited Liability

Company and has answered herein.

Defendant, Donalda Pohl is an individual and has answered herein.

2
Defendant, Helping Hands Financing, LLC is a Texas Limited Liability Company doing

business in Texas and may be served through its registered agent, Donalda Pohl at 422 Park

Ridge Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas 75050.

V
JURISDICTION AND VENUE

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the controversy because the claims

asserted in this Petition arose, in whole or in part, in Texas and the amount in controversy

exceeds the minimum jurisdictional limits of this Court.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over each Defendant because the acts and omissions

complained of herein occurred in Texas, each Defendant does and/or did do business in the State

of Texas, has committed a tort, in whole or in part in Texas, is a resident and citizen of Texas,

and/or has minimum contacts with the State of Texas during the period of time complained of

herein.

Venue is properly laid in Harris County, Texas because Defendants reside in and/or have

a principal place of business in Harris County, Texas. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE §

15.002(a)(2), (3).

VI
FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This is a civil barratry case against Texas lawyer, Defendant Michael A. Pohl and his law

firm, Law Office of Michael Pohl, PLLC (“Pohl”) and Pohl’s wife, Donalda “Donna” Pohl

(“Donna”) and her company, Helping Hands Financing, LLC (“Helping Hands Financing”),

arising out of a conspiracy to unethically and illegally solicit clients to hire Pohl for

representation in personal injury cases. At all material times, Pohl, Donna and Helping Hands

Financing were engaged in a partnership and/or joint venture to improperly and illegally solicit

clients who were victims (or family members of victims) of vehicle accidents. The Plaintiffs in

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this lawsuit are all unknowing victims of this barratry scheme and they bring this action pursuant

to Texas Government Code § 82.0651 to recover statutory penalties and attorneys’ fees.

A. The Illegal Solicitation Venture

Donna and Pohl are the modern-day barratry equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde. Pohl is a

Houston lawyer who obtains a number of his cases through runners and illegal solicitation. To

aid in this endeavor, Donna established Helping Hands Financing, which is a sham “financing”

company that operates as a cover for Donna’s and Pohl’s barratry organization. A representative

of Helping Hands Financing would contact vehicle accident victims, or their families,

immediately after the accident. Helping Hands Financing would offer to pay the victim or the

family sums of money to pay for “living” expenses and/or “funeral” expenses. However, unless

the victim or the family signed a representation contract with Pohl for the personal injury claim,

Helping Hands Financing refused to complete the transaction.

Pohl and Donna operated teams of case runners who traveled all over the country as

putative representatives of Helping Hands Financing, offering accident victims money if they

hired Pohl and the Pohl Firm for their personal injury claims. The Defendants herein subscribed

to an internet alert system which alerted them when a catastrophic vehicle accident occurred.

Defendants then sent the case runners information about the accident and instructed them to do

whatever it took to sign up the personal injury claim, including deceit and subterfuge. The

runners often pretended to be family members so they could get into hospital ICU rooms to see

victims, and appeared at funerals pretending to be acquaintances of the deceased victims. Once

the runners made contact with the victim or his/her family, the runners pressured the victim or

family to sign a personal injury contract with Pohl. Defendants authorized the runners to give

money to the victims or their families if they hired Pohl and the Pohl Firm for their personal

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injury claims. In each such case, Defendants authorized the specific amount of money to be

offered to the victims or their families.

In furtherance of the barratry conspiracy, Pohl employed two case runners, Kirk Ladner

and Scott Walker (“Walker”) and their company, Precision Marketing Group, LLC (“Precision

Marketing”) to providing “marketing services” to potential Pohl clients. Walker testified that

although it was called “marketing services” or “marketing money” it was “clear to [him] it was

barratry.”1 In fact, Walker considered himself and his company “a pass-through for barratry

money.”2 All total, Walker, Ladner and Precision Marketing received over $5 million in

“barratry pass-through money” from Pohl and other lawyers to solicit accident victims and other

potential clients.3 They would use this money to pay contract workers to solicit clients.4 They

would locate and train contract workers on how to accomplish the solicitation.5 They trained at

least “40 or 50 people” on how to “go out and solicit contracts” for the lawyers.6

Walker, Ladner and Precision Marketing entered into several “Operating Agreements”

agreements with Pohl to be “paid percentages” of the fees received by Pohl on any cases they

solicited.7 While these agreements called for Walker and Ladner to be paid hourly, this was a

ruse because Walker and Pohl had an unwritten understanding that Walker’s “hourly” fees would

1
Exhibit A – Deposition of Scott Walker, p. 149.
2
Exhibit A – Deposition of Scott Walker, p. 197:6-7.
3
Exhibit A – Deposition of Scott Walker, p. 73:21-25; 74:1-25; 75-1-15.
4
Exhibit A – Deposition of Scott Walker, p. 199.
5
Exhibit A – Deposition of Scott Walker, p. 77-78.
6
Exhibit A – Deposition of Scott Walker, p. 196-197.
7
Exhibit A – Deposition of Scott Walker, p. 184:15-19; Exhibit B – Operating Agreement.

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always a percentage of Pohl’s attorney’s fees.8 And, Walker and Ladner never submitted to Pohl

any invoices for their services because no real services were ever performed. In truth, Pohl’s

agreement with Walker and Ladner was simply an agreement to illegally solicit clients in

exchange for referral fees.

Defendants instructed Walker and Ladner to form various entities including The Helping

Hands Group, LLC (“Helping Hands Group”) and GM Settlement Verification Team, LLC

(“GM Settlement Team”) to serve as additional screens for Defendants’ barratry organization.

Pohl into similar Operating Agreements with these entities as he did with Precision Marketing.9

When the runners got victims or their families to sign a “funding agreement” for Helping Hands

Financing, they also got the victim/family member to sign a contract with Helping Hands Group

or GM Settlement Team. The contract purported to retain that company to investigate the claim

in return for 32% of the recovery on the personal injury claim if settled without a lawsuit, and

40% if a lawsuit was filed on the claim.

The purpose of this agreement was two-fold. First, the contract provided a plausible

argument that the runner’s contact with the victim or family was for the purpose of offering

“investigative” services, rather than to convince the victim or family to hire Pohl. However,

Helping Hands Group or GM Settlement Team never submitted any invoice to any family or

victim showing the number of hours rendered for those services. Second, the Helping Hands

Group/GM Settlement Team agreement assured that the potential client could not hire other

lawyers while Pohl and Ammons considered whether to take the claim, since the client had

already committed a large portion of the recovery to Helping Hands Group or GM Settlement

8
Exhibit C – Email With Hand Written Calculations (demonstrating how Walker would calculate his purported
hours in any given case).
9
Exhibit D – Operating Agreement With GM Settlement Team.

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Team. If the lawyers decided to reject the claim, then their names were never on any papers

which the potential client saw, providing Pohl with some perceived protection. If Pohl decided to

accept and prosecute the claim, then it was an easy matter to void the Helping Hands Group or

GM Settlement Team contract and have the client sign a contract with Pohl and his firm. The

Helping Hands Group and GM Settlement Team were nothing more than sham companies and

alter egos of Pohl and Donna. They had no business other than to solicit clients for Pohl and

provided no services to anyone other than solicitation of personal injury clients.

In furtherance of this scheme, Defendants paid all expenses of Walker, Lander, Helping

Hands Group, and GM Settlement Team, including office rent, staff salaries, and travel expenses.

Defendants instructed Walker, Ladner and other case runners managed by Walker and Ladner to

bring cash when they traveled to contact Defendants’ potential clients. The runner then invoiced

Helping Hands Group/GM Settlement Team for the incentive money paid to the potential client,

the runner’s fee for signing up the personal injury claim for Defendants and the runner’s

expenses associated with soliciting clients. Helping Hands Group/GM Settlement Team invoiced

Helping Hands Financing each week for money that runners gave clients, the runners’ fees and

expenses associated with soliciting clients, and all operating expenses of the company. Donna

paid Helping Hands Group/GM Settlement Team for the amounts of those invoices, either by

check or wire transfer out of Helping Hands Financing’s account.10 Helping Hands Group/GM

Settlement Team then paid the runners their fees and expenses. In that way, Defendants

“washed” the payments to the runners through companies --- Helping Hands Financing, Helping

Hands Group or GM Settlement Team.

10
Exhibit E – Checks and Wire Transfers.

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One of the runners contracted by Pohl and Donna was Magadalena Santana (“Santana”).

Santana testifies how Pohl sent her on “dozens and dozens of car wreck cases all over the

country.”11 Pohl would email Santana the link of news coverage depicting the accident and ask

her “to go to the victim or the victim’s family and try to get them to sign up with him.” 12 Pohl

offered to give Santana “$5,000 per case that [she] signed, plus a percentage of his attorney’s

fees.”13 Santana was advised by Pohl to “be persistent even if the family ... rejected [her].”14

Santana was instructed by Pohl to “approach the victims and their families while they were

vulnerable, in the emergency room, their hospital rooms or at the funerals.”15 Pohl told Santana

that minorities “were especially vulnerable since they tended not to know that the law prohibited

barratry.” According to Pohl, they “were easier to sign up.”16

Donna and Pohl would give Santana money through Helping Hands Financing “to give to

the victims or their families” but “only if they agreed to sign a Pohl representation contract.”17

Pohl advised Santana that the money was a “foot in the door” but instructed Santana not to

mention that she was there on behalf of a lawyer “until after they agreed to take the money.”18

“If the client agreed to hire Pohl, then [Santana] was to have the client sign a ‘Helping Hands’

contract.”19 Pohl would then give Santana the money to pay the client “from his own Helping

11
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 17.
12
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 17.
13
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 18.
14
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 19.
15
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 19.
16
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 19.
17
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 17.
18
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 24.
19
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 24.

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Hands company.”20 When Santana asked Pohl why she was paid through a marketing company,

Pohl told Santana that it “was illegal for him to pay [her] directly for cases, and that’s why the

money had to go through some company.”21 After Santana would solicit the clients, Pohl would

meet Santana at restaurants to sign the contracts she had illegally and unethically obtained.22

B. The Illegal Solicitation of Mae Berry.

On or about Sunday, August 17, 2014, Johnny Berry (“Johnny”) was traveling

northbound on Highway 43 in a 2005 Honda Accord when his vehicle malfunctioned, causing

him to lose control and veer of the road. The vehicle flipped numerous times, the air bag did not

deploy and Johnny was ejected from the vehicle and instantly killed. Johnny was a mere thirty

years old. Plaintiff Mae Berry (“Berry”) is Johnny’s surviving biological mother.

Within days of the accident, Defendants instructed Walker and Ladner to attempt to

solicit Berry to hire Pohl to represent her in a lawsuit or claim. Walker and Ladner enlisted one

of their prime runners for the job, Kenneth “Coach” Talley (“Talley”). Talley had been

previously provided copies of Pohl’s contracts from Edgar Jaimes (“Jaimes”), an employee at

Helping Hands Financing and paralegal of Pohl’s law firm.23 Tally personally visited Berry on or

about August 20, 2014 with a gift basket. Talley quickly ascertained that Berry, in addition to

mourning the loss of her son, was worried about the cost of burying him. Therefore, in

furtherance of the barratry scheme, Talley offered Berry $500 in cash if she would hire Pohl and

the Helping Hands Group to “investigate” a possible lawsuit against Honda. Talley pressured

Berry to sign the contracts right there on the spot. Berry agreed and executed a contract with the

20
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 24.
21
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 23.
22
Exhibit F – Santana Affidavit, ¶ 22.
23
Exhibit G – Email from Jaimes to Talley.

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Helping Hands Group to purportedly “investigate” her claims at the rate of $440 per hour, with a

limit of 32% of any recovery if no lawsuit was filed regarding her son’s death, and 40% if a

lawsuit was filed.24

In an effort to legitimize the barratry, Talley, at the instruction of Defendants, had Berry

sign a “Funding Agreement” with Helping Hands Financing in order to receive the $500 cash

payment.25 Desperate for money to bury her son, Berry signed both agreements and in return

received $500 cash. Walker emailed these agreements to Pohl and Jaimes the next day on August

21, 2014.26 In the email, Walker stated to Pohl that “Coach Ken” would be “getting the Pohl

contract signed th[at] afternoon.”27 Although Defendants solicited Berry to enter into a contract,

the case was ultimately rejected and Berry never heard from Talley or Defendants again.

C. The Illegal Solicitation of Sandra Johnson and Alphonse Bethley.

Plaintiffs Sandra Johnson and Alphonse Bethley (the “Bethleys”) are the biological

parents of Ashley Bethley (“Ashley”), deceased. On March 26, 2012, Ashley was travelling

northbound on Highway 19 in a 2007 Saturn Ion when she lost control of the vehicle and veered

sideways off of the road. The vehicle then struck a utility pole, penetrating the driver door. The

air bag did not deploy and Ashley suffered fatal injuries as a result. Ashley was a mere twenty-

four years old.

In July of 2014, Pohl employed Walker and Ladner under their ruse company GM

Settlement Team to illegally solicit the Bethleys to bring suit against General Motors, the

24
Exhibit H – Berry Helping Hands Agreement.
25
Exhibit I – Berry Funding Agreement.
26
Exhibit J – Berry Email.
27
Exhibit J – Berry Email.

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manufacturer of the car driven by Ashley.28 For his solicitation services, Pohl agreed to share his

attorney’s fees with Ladner, a non-lawyer, and pay him $5,000 for every $1,000,000 he

recovered.29 Ladner then personally solicited the Behtleys at their home to hire Pohl and the GM

Settlement Team to investigate their daughter’s car accident to determine whether they had any

claims against GM. The primary purpose of the personal solicitation was to obtain business for

Pohl and advertise his services. Ladner was paid (or offered payment) by Pohl to solicit

employment.30 Further, the Behtleys had no previous attorney client or family relationship with

Ladner and/or Pohl. The solicitation was successful and the Bethleys signed a contract with Pohl

to pursue their claims.31 Ladner then emailed Pohl, stating he had signed the Bethleys as clients

and was also going to go to the home of the passenger who was in Ashley’s vehicle at the time of

the accident and who suffered brain damage and “follow up on signing that family.” 32 Pohl later

rejected the Bethleys’ case and they recovered nothing.

D. The Illegal Solicitation of Arthur and Lisa Speck.

Plaintiffs Arthur and Lisa Speck (the “Specks”) are the biological parents of Rebecca

Dey Speck (“Rebecca”), deceased. On July 19, 2010, Rebecca was the victim of a tragic

automobile accident which claimed her life. Nearly four years following the accident, in June of

2014, the Specks were at home when they received an unexpected visit from Pohl’s veteran case

runner, Coach Ken Talley. Talley was experienced in running cases for Pohl, having personally

28
Exhibit K – Ladner-Pohl Distribution Agreement re Bethley.
29
Exhibit K – Ladner-Pohl Distribution Agreement re Bethley.
30
Exhibit K – Ladner-Pohl Distribution Agreement re Bethley.
31
Exhibit L – Bethley Contract.
32
Exhibit M – Email from Ladner to Pohl.

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solicited and referred more than twenty (20) cases involving catastrophic auto accidents. 33 Talley

asked the Specks about their daughter’s accident and told them they might be eligible to receive

a settlement under the GM Settlement program. He said he was with the GM Settlement Team

and proposed that the Specks Pohl to investigate their potential claims and eligibility for the

settlement program. As a purported “good faith” measure, Talley offered Arthur Speck money to

show that he was serious about investigating their potential claims, but only if they would agree

to hire Pohl. Arthur Speck approved and signed a “GM Settlement Application” agreeing to pay

GM Settlement Team 1/3 of any recovery and authorizing it to hire any attorney it deems

necessary.34 Of course, the attorney selected by GM Settlement Team was Pohl and, therefore,

Talley had Arthur Speck sign a legal contract with Pohl that same day.35 And, to get the money,

Talley had Arthur Speck sign the usual funding agreement with Helping Hands Financing,

reflecting he received $1,000 to sign up.36 The Specks never heard from Talley again following

this initial unsolicited visit, but later received a letter from Pohl and his firm stating that Pohl

would not be pursuing any claims on their behalf.

E. The Illegal Solicitation of Raymond Butts

Plaintiff Raymond Butts (“Butts”) was the victim of a tragic automobile accident on or

about August 8, 2013 in Clear Spring, Maryland, which claimed the life of Brenda Adams

(“Adams”), his fiancée. Just days after the accident, and while in the hospital recovering from his

wounds and grieving the loss of his fiancé, Butts received an unexpected phone call from

Santana, who said she was working on behalf of Pohl. Santana encouraged Butts to hire Pohl to

33
Exhibit N – Talley Notes on Cases Solicited.
34
Exhibit O – Speck GM Application.
35
Exhibit P – Speck-Pohl Contract.
36
Exhibit Q – Speck Case Funding Schedule.

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represent him in any potential claims resulting from the accident, stating that he could receive a

lot of money for his injuries and promising him millions of dollars. Butts did not agree, and the

conversation ended.

But Santana was persistent. Santana and her brother, Florian, made several unexpected

visits to Butts’ hospital room to solicit employment for Pohl. Santana brought Butts flowers,

food, drinks and even a cell phone to make long distance calls to his friends and family members

while hospitalized. Santana also offered to purchase new clothes for Butts to wear to his

fiancée’s funeral and give him a ride to the funeral, but Butts was still hospitalized at that time.

And, as Santana set her sights on signing Butts, Florian continued his solicitation efforts by

attending Adams’ funeral, bringing flowers for her family and requesting her parents to give

them the title to her vehicle, which was involved in the accident.

Santana’s barratry persistence paid off and Butts executed two contracts with Pohl just

two days after the accident and while still on his hospital bed.37 Santana also had Butts sign a

funding agreement with Helping Hands Financing to obtain the money Santana promised to pay

Butts if he signed the contracts.38 And of course, Santana had Butts execute the “Attorney

Acknowledgement” listing Pohl as his lawyer and authorizing Pohl to pay back Helping Hands

Financing from any settlement.39 In exchange for her solicitation efforts, Walker and Ladner

agreed to pay Santana and Florian 50% of the 22.5% interest they were going to receive from

Pohl’s attorney’s fees arising from any claim or lawsuit filed by Butts.40 Ultimately, however,

the claims were not pursued.

37
Exhibit R – Butts Pohl Contract.
38
Exhibit S – Butts Funding Agreement.
39
Exhibit T – Butts Attorney Acknowledgement.
40
Exhibit U – Santana Operating Agreement re Butts.

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VII
STATEMENT OF CLAIMS AND THEORIES OF LIABILITY

Therefore, it has become necessary to bring this suit to collect a legal and equitable debt

of money damages owing to Plaintiffs due to the Defendants’ conduct. Specifically, Plaintiffs

brings claims against Defendants, jointly and severally, for civil barratry, civil conspiracy and

aiding and abetting.

A. Civil Barratry Under Texas Government Code 82.0651

Section 82.0651 of the Texas Government Code allows any person who was solicited by

conduct violating the laws of Texas or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct

concerning barratry to sue “any person who committed barratry” and recover damages, civil

penalties and attorney’s fees. See TEX. GOV’T CODE § 82.0651. Defendants, with intent to obtain

an economic benefit, violated the following provisions of the Texas Penal Code:

1. Section 38.12(a)(2) of the Texas Penal Code which prohibits a person from

soliciting employment, either in person or by telephone, for themselves or for

another.

2. Section 38.12(a)(3) of the Texas Penal Code which prohibits a person from

paying or offering to pay or advance money to a prospective client.

3. Section 38.12(a)(4) of the Texas Penal Code which prohibits a person from

paying offering to pay third parties to solicit employment.

4. Section 38.12(a)(6) of the Texas Penal Code which prohibits a person from

accepting or agreeing to accept money or anything of value to solicit employment.

5. Section 38.12(b)(1), (2) and (3) of the Texas Penal Code which prohibits a person

from knowingly financing or investing funds in the above offenses and knowingly

accepting employment which was obtained in violation of Section 38.12(a).

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Furthermore, Pohl violated Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct 7.03 by the

aforementioned conduct and by seeking professional employment from Plaintiffs in person and

when Plaintiffs did not seek out the lawyer’s services or have a past or present attorney-client

relationship with them. A significant motive for Pohl soliciting Plaintiffs was for pecuniary gain.

Pohl violated Rule 7.03 by entering into and charging for a fee for professional employment

which was obtained in violation of the rules prohibiting barratry.

B. Civil Conspiracy and Aiding and Abetting

As set forth above, Defendants were members of a combination of two or more persons.

The object of the combination was to accomplish an unlawful purpose by unlawful means – the

unlawful barratry and solicitation of Plaintiffs. The members, one or more of the Defendants

herein and other third parties, had a meeting of the minds on the object or course of action, to

gain the representation of Plaintiffs by illegal and unethical solicitation. As alleged above, one or

more of the members committed an unlawful, overt act in furtherance of the object or course of

action. As such, Defendants are jointly and severally liable for each other’s violations of Texas

Government Code, Section 82.0651.

VIII
VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Defendants are vicariously liable under a theory of partnership. Defendants, individually

and through their respective firms or entities, formed various partnerships and entered into

various agreements to associate for profit. Each Defendant received or had a right to receive a

share of the profits, expressed intent to be a partner in the ventures, participated or had a right to

participate in the control of the business, shared or agreed to share the losses of the business or

liability, and/or contributed or agreed to contribute money. Accordingly, each Defendant is a

member of the partnership formed for the purpose of carrying on the barratry activities described

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herein and each is liable for the conduct of one another as described herein all of which occurred

within the course and scope of the partnership.

Defendants are also vicariously liable under a theory of joint enterprise or joint venture.

Defendants were engaged in a joint enterprise or joint venture because they had express and

implied agreements to carry out the actions outlined herein. Defendants had a community of

pecuniary interest in that common purpose and an equal right to direct and control the enterprise

or venture. Defendants each took actions in furtherance of the purpose of the joint enterprise,

which was to commit barratry.

IX
DEFENSES TO LIMITATIONS

To the extent necessary, Plaintiffs affirmatively plead the discovery rule, fraudulent

concealment and/or the Hughes tolling rule to any defense of limitations asserted by Defendants

regarding any of Plaintiffs’ claims or causes of action. Plaintiffs did not discover, nor could they

have discovered through reasonable diligence, Defendants’ barratry scheme. Acts of barratry are

inherently undiscoverable. Even if Plaintiffs knew they had been solicited, they may not know,

nor could they reasonably discover, that they had been wrongfully solicited and injured because

of this solicitation or that the runners were being paid to solicit them. Plaintiffs did not know that

Defendants had paid or agreed to pay individuals to solicit Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs did not know

Defendants committed the barratry with intent to obtain an economic benefit in violation of the

particular subparts of Texas Penal Code § 38.12. Moreover, Defendants affirmatively

fraudulently concealed their wrongdoing from Plaintiffs.

X
RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR

Plaintiffs plead the legal theory of respondeat superior as between the individual lawyer

named herein and this respective law firm.

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XI
DAMAGES

Plaintiffs seek damages within the jurisdictional limits of this Court collectively in excess

of $500,000. Texas Government Code, Section 82.0651(b) provides that a person who prevails in

a civil barratry action may recover from each Defendant actual damages, statutory damages in

the amount of $10,000 per violation per defendant and reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees.

Plaintiffs seek actual damages, including mental anguish, in the amount of $100,000. Each of the

four Defendants committed no less than eight violations of the statute for a total of $320,000 in

statutory damages. Finally, Plaintiffs seek reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees. Texas law

recognizes that contingency fees can be reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.

Under these circumstances, a reasonable attorneys’ fee of 40% of the entire recovery should be

assessed against Defendants.

XII
JURY DEMAND

Plaintiffs desire to have a jury decide this case and make this formal request pursuant to

Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 216. This request is filed more than thirty days before this case

has been scheduled for trial and all fees have been paid.

XIII
REQUESTS FOR DISCLOSURE

To the extent not already done, Plaintiffs request that Defendants disclose all information

and documents required under Rule 194, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure within the time required

under this rule.

XIV
PRAYER

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray that after trial herein, that judgment be entered against

Defendants jointly and severally as prayed for, that costs of court be taxed against Defendants,

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that Plaintiffs be given prejudgment as well as post judgment interest, and for such other and

further relief, at law and in equity to which Plaintiffs may show themselves to be justly entitled,

to which the Court believes Plaintiffs to be deserving, and for which Plaintiffs will ever pray.

Respectfully submitted,

THE KASSAB LAW FIRM

/ s / Lance Christopher Kassab


LANCE CHRISTOPHER KASSAB
Texas State Bar No. 00794070
lance@kassab.law
DAVID ERIC KASSAB
Texas State Bar No. 24071351
david@kassab.law
KIMBER WATSON ENIOLA
Texas State Bar No. 24099228
kimber@kassab.law
1214 Elgin Street
Houston, Texas 77004
Telephone: 713-522-7400
Facsimile: 713-522-7410

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that a true and correct copy of the above and foregoing instrument has
been forwarded to all known parties and/or counsel of record pursuant to the Texas Rules of
Civil Procedure on this, the 5th day of April, 2018.

/s/ David Eric Kassab


David Eric Kassab

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EXHIBIT "A"
EXHIBIT "B"
EXHIBIT "C"
EXHIBIT "D"
EXHIBIT "E"
EXHIBIT "F"
EXHIBIT "G"

TALLEY 000028
TALLEY 000029
EXHIBIT "H"
EXHIBIT "I"
EXHIBIT "J"
EXHIBIT "K"
EXHIBIT "L"
EXHIBIT "M"
EXHIBIT "N"

TALLEY 000039
EXHIBIT "O"
EXHIBIT "P"
EXHIBIT "Q"
EXHIBIT "R"
EXHIBIT "S"
EXHIBIT "T"
EXHIBIT "U"