PRINCETON – Meral Inc. is suing Brewster, Morhous, Cameron, Caruth, Moore, Kersey & Stafford after it claims the law firm and two attorneys breached their contract with the corporation.
Lawrence E. Morhous and Jerry J. Cameron also were named as defendants in the suit.
In May 2008, Meral began negotiations with WPP LLC about the possibility of Meral leasing several thousand acres of metallurgical coal owned by WPP in Greenbrier County, according to a complaint filed Aug. 4 in Mercer Circuit Court.
Meral claims the negotiations resulted in an agreement between Meral and WPP regarding the leasing of coal. Morhous represented Meral during the negotiations.
Having acquired the WPP lease, Meral set about acquiring the rights to a coal loading facility owned by Mead Westvaco in Greenbrier County located near the WPP leasehold and, in 2011, they entered negotiations and Morhous, again, represented Meral in preparation of the contract, according to the suit.
Meral claims Cameron represented Meral during negotiations that resulted in an asset purchase agreement and other related documents and in the closing of the agreement in 2011.
The defendants also represented Meral on various other agreements during this time, however, the defendants failed to prepare a deed of trust, financing statement or other document granting Meral a security interest in South Fork’s assets sufficient to secure payment of the purchase price installment payments due to Meral.
Meral claims on April 6, 2015, South Fork and several related corporate entities commenced a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding and, when it did so, Meral was still owed $671,812.14 of the $5.2 million purchase price per the terms of the asset purchase agreement.
Meral was also still owed $109,920.55 in overriding royalty payments, according to the suit.
Meral claims in 2016, the bankruptcy court found that it had failed to record documents among the Greenbrier County land records to perfect a security interest in South Fork’s assets and to secure payment of the balance of the purchase price and unpaid production royalties owed to the plaintiff.
The defendants breached their contract with Meral, causing it more than $20 million in lost income and royalty interests, according to the suit.
Morhous declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Meral is seeking compensatory damages. It is being represented by William J. Leon of William J. Leon LC.
Mercer Circuit Court case number: 17-C-303