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One Law Firm’s Fee Collection Nightmare

January 1, 2020 | Posted in : Articles / Books, Fee Collection, Legal Bills / Legal Costs, Unpaid Fees

A recent Law.com article by Jack Newsham, “The Dog Ate My Legal Bills: One Law Firm’s Collection Nightmare,” reports on one law firm effort to collect unpaid legal fees.  The article reads:

No one goes into the practice of law dreaming of chasing down clients for unpaid legal bills.  But that’s what dominated discussions in the past year between New York firm Kent, Beatty & Gordon and former client Theodore B. Owen, according to a lawsuit the firm filed Tuesday against Owen, seeking nearly $190,000 in legal fees.

While many law firms have sued clients for unpaid fees, the firm’s collection suit stands out for its lengthy documentation of all the excuses that Owen allegedly used.  Owen is an esports businessman whose legal tussles with his landlady landed on Page Six. 

“Owen … represented on various occasions that Owen (a) was selling bitcoin, (b) had received a large inheritance check, (c) sold ‘offshore assets’ and (d) sold a $5,000,000 investment so as to make all of his payables current,” said the firm’s suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The firm went on to list a chronology of Owen’s alleged excuses that stretched on for two pages.  According to the firm, Owen or someone at his company, Dead Waltons LLC, gave the following excuses over the course of 2019:

On Jan. 16, “if the money is not already there, it should be tomorrow.”
On the morning of Jan. 29, “Your money should arrive today.”
On the evening of Jan. 29, “It should be there.”
On Saturday, Feb. 2, “Friday.”
On Thursday, Feb. 7, “I said Friday.”
On Feb. 11, “Jack, you get paid this week.”
On Feb. 23, “Listen I have money … no games just settle down.”
On Mar. 1, “Thanks it will be done.”
On Mar. 25, “Money … will go out tomorrow am.”
In response to an April 10 email, “Please be a little more patient.”
In an April 16 email, “destroying my reputation is not the way to go about getting this resolved. I am going to oay [sic] you.”
Upon being confronted with a $100,000 invoice May 1, “Tuesday I can make a dent … it won’t be all of it but a nice dent.”

“Notwithstanding these and many, many other promises made by Owen … each and every one of the above-referenced dates passed without even partial payment from defendants,” the suit said.  Jonathon Warner of the firm Warner & Scheuerman, who replaced Kent Beatty in one of Owen’s lawsuits, said Monday afternoon that he’d ask his client if he wanted to comment.  Nothing was heard as of press time Tuesday.