Sommers Schwartz attorneys Matthew Turner and Tad Roumayah secured a $122,500 arbitration award against the law firm of Dean & Fulkerson, P.C., and one of its attorneys, Robert J. Figa, on behalf of a client who lost tens of thousands of dollars in agreed-upon severance pay and incurred additional damages due to Figa’s legal malpractice.
The claimant, Peter Raab, entered into a severance agreement with his then-employer, Arrow Uniform-Taylor, LLC (“Arrow”), for which he was to receive severance payments and other benefits upon the termination of his employment and execution of a general release. Raab was terminated; he signed the release in which he released and waived any claims against Arrow and began to receive his severance payments.
Shortly after that, Raab and four other company employees retained Dean & Fulkerson and Figa to investigate and advise them about potentially filing a lawsuit against Arrow to pursue money allegedly owed to them under the company’s Equity Appreciation Plan. Of the four putative plaintiffs, only Raab was no longer employed by Arrow and the only one who had signed a severance agreement and release.
Raab specifically informed Figa about the agreements and provided him with copies. Figa never advised Raab that his severance payments would be in jeopardy if he participated in any lawsuit against his former employer. Nevertheless, Figa filed the suit on behalf of Raab and his former colleagues, causing Arrow to stop paying Raab severance as the suit violated the severance agreement and release. At the time, the amount of remaining payments due to Raab was $506,730.75.
Raab then hired Figa to file an arbitration proceeding against Arrow to recover the unpaid severance, a claim that Raab ultimately settled for $475,000.
But the year-long delay and suspension of Raab’s severance compensation due to his attorney’s malpractice cost him much more than the outstanding balance. He incurred over $40,000 in unnecessary attorneys’ fees, lost almost $200,000 in Social Security benefits, and suffered significant worry, anxiety, and emotional distress.
At arbitration, attorneys Turner and Roumayah secured an award of $122,500 for Raab.
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