WINFIELD – The 25 plaintiffs in cases against Dr. John King who were sued by attorney William Druckman have filed an answer to his lawsuit and a consumer protection counterclaim.
In his lawsuit filed Aug. 7, Druckman claims the 25 parties -- some individuals and some couples -- owe him a total of nearly $76,000 for "litigation-related costs and expenses" he incurred while he still was a counsel of record in their cases against Putnam General Hospital and King.
In the answer and counterclaim, filed Oct. 2 in Putnam Circuit Court, the 25 former patients and relatives of former patients of King say Druckman's action against them lacks merit and "is unsupported by any West Virginia law."
"Plaintiff (Druckman) has used his skills as an attorney to persecute these defendants for exercising their right to discharge him from the Putnam County Orthopedic litigation," the counterclaim states. "Plaintiff has abused his status as an officer of this court. … Plaintiff has abused the legal process …
"Plaintiff's only purpose in filing this complaint is to harass, embarrass and retaliate against defendants … Plaintiff's continued harassment and malicious prosecution has resulted in defendants experiencing fear, embarrassment, anxiety, oppression and economic loss associated with this frivolous claim."
When Druckman originally filed his case, Dr. Richard Lindsay, the attorney who is representing these 25 litigants in the King cases and against Druckman, called Druckman's suit "nuts" and "unprecedented."
In 2004, Druckman was awarded $833,333.33 for serving as a special assistant attorney general in the Purdue Pharma case. Lindsay and wife Pamela Tabor Lindsay -- a nurse and lawyer -- worked with Druckman for eight years under an unwritten agreement and demanded half of his fee but did not get it.
In response, Druckman sued the Lindsays in September 2005 in Kanawha Circuit Court, charging extortion, fraud, conversion and breach of contract. Druckman and the Lindsays agreed in 1997 to share clients in medical malpractice cases. Together they paid for newspaper and television advertisements featuring the Lindsays and Druckman.
"They (the clients Druckman has sued) never would've entered into an agreement with an attorney if they thought they had to pay like this," Lindsay recently told The Record. "Bill never met these people. He never met 22 of the parties. It's just a way to punish the clients who were under my contract who decided to stay with me."
Druckman worked on the King cases through his partnership with Lindsay, who said he doesn't dispute that Druckman is owed money for expenses.
When the clients in question were notified that the Lindsays and Druckman would not be working on their cases anymore, Lindsay said all of them chose to stay with his firm.
In the recently filed counterclaim, Lindsay includes affidavits from his clients stating, among other things, that they entered a contingency fee contract solely with Tabor Lindsay & Associates and Dr. Lindsay for 40 percent of any settlement or jury verdict and that fees and expenses would be taken out of such settlement or verdict.
Also, the affidavits include a copy of a letter Lindsay's clients received with a return address of 1 Capitol St. in Charleston, a non-existent address that they say they believe Druckman wrote or had someone write to "harass, scare and intimidate."
The letter, in part, states, "Your case is in serious jeopardy and you are the only one that can save it."
It goes on to say Tabor Lindsay has "no idea about the legal aspects of your case" and that the firm shops around "for other firms to pay all of the expenses and do all of the work for them just as they did with the Druckman firm. All they are after is the fees."
The letter also urges the recipients to call the State Bar and report Tabor Linday's actions.
Putnam Circuit Court case number: 06-C-259