A San Antonio law firm has been sued by a former employee after the employee claims she was fired because she refused to inappropriately solicit accident victims, an illegal practice known as barratry.
Debbie Suarez filed a lawsuit against the Begum Law Group, including Alex Begum and David Adkisson. "If you're an employee you shouldn't have to choose between your job and committing a crime," said Marynell Maloney, who is representing Suarez, and said her client was told to solicit accident victims for the Begum firm.
"Ms. Suarez then at one point was asked directly to go to the clinic to sign up a new accident victim," Marynell Maloney said. "She knew it was wrong and she brought it to their attention and they fired her."
"What you have is someone who is trying to exact a pound of flesh," said Tim Maloney, an attorney representing the Begum Law Firm and Marynell's former brother-in-law.
Tim Maloney, who has never worked for the Marynell Maloney Law Firm and who has his own practice, said there's no question barratry is alive and well in San Antonio.
"It still happens, it's all over the place. We just are adamant that they have the wrong firm on this one," he said.
In an emailed statement, David Adkisson of the Begum Law Group wrote that Suarez has a long and sordid criminal past, including theft and assault charges in Bexar County and was under investigation for unemployment benefits fraud. He says as an employee she was disruptive, deceptive and untrustworthy and was justly fired.
According to a new Texas law, anyone who is solicited by a law firm after an accident is entitled to $10,000 and possibly more if they sign a contract.