CHARLESTON – A Charleston law firm is asking the court to help decide who has sole authority to obtain client files of a Russian business it represented for seven years.
OOO Promneftstroy (PNS), acting by and through claimants Stephen Lynch and Richard Deitz are the defendants in the suit.
In 2009, Bailey Glasser was first retained by PNS to handle several potential civil actions in state and federal courts in the United States and the law firm communicated with Deitz and Lynch, according to a complaint filed April 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The law firm claims Deitz and Lynch worked together on behalf of PNS and each now represents that he has authority to direct litigation and to access information in the Bailey Glasser client files.
Bailey Glasser represented PNS in four related actions over the course of seven years and those actions were related to ongoing litigation in the Netherlands, however, the law firm had no direct involvement in the Netherlands litigation, according to the suit.
The law firm claims that from 2009 until 2015, it knew of no dispute regarding which person had the right to direct to litigation on behalf of PNS and Bailey Glasser communicated with both Lynch and Deitz, however, Deitz performed the duty of the primary client contact for litigation matters.
In 2015, for the first time, Lynch asserted that he alone had the authority to authorize and direct litigation on behalf of PNS and continues to maintain that he has sole authority, according to the suit. Deitz denied this and continues to deny that Lynch is the sole lawful agent of PNS.
The law firm claims Deitz has asserted that he has the sole authority to direct litigation and to access and possess the PNS client files.
Lynch has demanded the return of the files and Deitz has denied that Lynch is entitled to the files, according to the suit. While the law firm acknowledges that PNS has the right to demand and retrieve its files, it is unable to resolve the competing claims and is uncertain as to the rightful agent of PNS.
The law firm claims that it has terminated representation of PNS and will return the sensitive client files to PNS through this interpleader action and by tendering such files to the court under seal.
Bailey Glasser is seeking the court to accept jurisdiction of the interpleader action and for Lynch and Deitz to be provided the opportunity to resolve their competing claims to the client files. It is being represented by Athanasios Badekis of Bailey Glasser.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 16-C-588