In an interesting turn of events, two lawyers from Dallas who worked together in a groundbreaking case are now going to court against each other. Those two lawyers helped acquire rights for plaintiffs to pursue legal malpractice cases in federal court. The former co-counsels are now going against each other as defendant and plaintiff.
The case, Chris Kling v. Paul Storm and Storm LLP was filed back on the 21st of November in the 191st District Court in Dallas. Kling claims that Storm and Storm LLP failed to pay bonuses owed to him from the years of 2008 and 2009, which is listed in the petition filed with the district court. Kling is also alleging a breach of contract by Storm and Storm LLP, fraud, fraudulent inducement, and breach of duties of good faith. There are other causes of action that were listed in the petition as well.
Back in 2005, Kling was asked to join the firm of Storm and Storm LLP according to the petition and Texas Lawyer. Storm and Storm LLP and Kling agreed that Kling would be paid an annual salary plus bonuses. In June 2008, for example, Kling was paid a bonus of $34,692 by Storm and/or Storm LLP.
Storm and Kling were the representatives for Air Measurement Technologies in Air Measurement Technologies Inc., et al. v. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, et al. This was a legal malpractice case filed in a United States District Court in San Antonio. The case eventually reached the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on interlocutory appeal. Back in 2008, according to the petition, Kling was named as the lead counsel for the case, and then in 2009, a jury returned $73.4 million in a verdict in the favor of Air Measurement Technologies.
For the time period of May 2008 through November 2008, Kling alleges that the defendants did not pay him a bonus. In April of 2009, Kling says that the defendants did pay him a portion of the bonus owed to him but not all of it.
June of 2009 came and went with no bonus payment to Kling, which was due for work performed for the firm from December 2008 to May 2009. After the payment was not received, Kling decided to quit working for the firm, according to the petition.
“Chris didn’t want to file the lawsuit, but we’ve given him [Storm] multiple opportunities to resolve this matter. And Chris filed a lawsuit to get paid the money he’s owed,” says Rogge Dunn, a partner in Dallas’ Clouse Dunn, who represents Chris Kling.
An answer to the petition was not filed by Storm and Storm LLP. One of the Storms, Paul Storm, left the firm and has since joined the Dallas firm of Thompson & Knight. The law firm of Storm and Storm LLP has also closed.