Bell Law Firm sues Texas firm for breach of contract, unjust enrichment

By Kyla Asbury | May 21, 2012


CHARLESTON -- The Bell Law Firm is suing Texas-based Tracey Law Firm for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

In July 2009, the defendant entered into a contract with the Bell Law Firm by which the Bell Law Firm was to serve as local counsel in contemplated products liability actions concerning the Fentanyl Pain Patch in exchange for 15 percent of the defendant's attorney fees in any eventual recovery, according to a complaint filed April 27 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The Bell Law Firm claims it filed and began prosecuting a number of claims as local counsel on behalf of the defendant and after devoting considerable time to prosecuting the actions in West Virginia, the parties made a strategic decision to dismiss the actions and refile them in Pennsylvania.

The cases subsequently settled in Pennsylvania and after learning the cases had settled, the Bell Law Firm contacted the defendant to discuss compensation and to inquire about the terms of the settlements, but the defendant has as of yet refused to provide any details, according to the suit.

The Bell Law Firm claims despite the existence of the contract, the defendant has refused to compensate the plaintiff according to its terms.

By refusing to justly compensate the Bell Law Firm following the settlement of the civil actions, the defendant breached its contract with the Bell Law Firm, according to the suit.

The Bell Law Firm claims the defendant's breach of contract caused the law firm to suffer damages, including the portion of settlement proceeds to which it is entitled under the contract.

In exchange for a promise to pay the Bell Law Firm 15 percent of the attorneys' fees recovered in the civil actions, the defendant received and retained the benefit of the Bell Law Firm's work as local counsel, according to the suit.

The Bell Law Firm is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. It is being represented by Harry F. Bell Jr. and Jonathan W. Price.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-756

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