Public Relations Pros $8M Lawsuit Against Lawyers Not Dismissed By Mississippi Federal Judge
Two Houston attorneys, Michael Pohl, individually and d/b/a the Law Office of Michael Pohl, and Jimmy Williamson, d/b/a Jimmy Williamson P.C. partnered together to solicit businesses and individuals to become their clients to file claims against BP PLC over the 2010 oil spill.
To that end, they retained the services of various PR experts, including Scott Walker, Steve Seymour, Kirk Ladner, and Precision Marketing Group. The attorneys made an agreement with the PR experts to pay them $1,500 an hour for 10 hours of work a day, seven days a week. According to the suit, the attorneys paid only a portion of what the marketing team was owed. There were two contracts, one for May 2012 and the other for July 2012.
Suit was filed last October with plaintiffs claiming they were able to obtain more than 10,600 BP spill-related clients, through their efforts.
The defendants filed a motion to dismiss saying the PR experts did not keep adequate records of their work and, therefore, should not receive more than what they have already been paid.
The PR experts brought documents proving the attorneys clearly indicated, despite the contract language, daily accounting records were not necessary. Judge Starrett in response said,“The court accepts as true plaintiffs’ allegation that Pohl excused them from any requirement of detailed time records. For Pohl to then deny payment based on inadequate time records could imply a consciously dishonest purpose that is characteristic of bad faith.”
Judge Starrett also did not accept Williamson’s claim that he should be released as he was not party to the agreement. The court found, “This contention is in conflict with plaintiffs’ allegations that Williamson and Pohl referred to each other as ‘partners’ and that it was represented to them that the contracts they held were for the purpose of gaining clients for both Williamson and Pohl.”
PR people are too often treated as the lowest man on the totem pole – good for the PR pros who sued those who don’t honor their agreements. Lets hope they collect every penny owed them.