Law Firms/ Defendants File Summary Judgment in Fee Payment Dispute
Download the full pdf of the motion by clicking: here
June 24, 2022, US Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee – Law firms Hagh Law, PLLC and Manookian, PLLC and lawyer Afsoon Hagh (collectively “Defendants”) move for summary judgment on all claims made by Jeanne Ann Burton, the trustee (“Trustee”) for Cummings Manookian PLLC (“Debtor”) in her complaint against the Defendants.
According to the complaint, the Trustee alleges that the Defendants should pay Debtor Cummings Manookian PLLC attorney’s fees in two cases where Cummings Manookian was representing one of the parties in each case before withdrawing from both the cases. Trustee Burton also alleges that the Defendants have allegedly “misappropriated” or otherwise “improperly utilized” property she claims belongs to Cummings Manookian.
The Defendants assert in their motion that Cummings Manookian is a defunct, short lived law firm. The Debtor law firm was allegedly involved in two cases (the “Fitzgerald” case and the “Shoemaker” case). The Defendants’ motion claims that Cummings Manookian “abruptly” withdrew from representing the parties in these cases. The engagement contracts of the Defendants for respective cases allegedly debarred them from recovering attorney fees in the event of their withdrawing from the case. The Defendants also attached a letter from Brian Manookian, as sole member of the Debtor law firm, “expressly and specifically disclaiming” any attorney’s fee arising out of the Fitzgerald suit.
The Defendants counter the misappropriation allegation by contending that Cummings Manookian never owned any real property and that it arguably did not own the office property at 45 Music Square West. The Defendants deny receiving or using any property belonging to Cummings Manookian and argue that they have never caused any person or entity to terminate any contract or business relationship with Cummings Manookian.
The Defendants claim that Cummings Manookian is not entitled to any portion of the Fitzgerald case fee or the Shoemaker case fee. Additionally, the Defendants allege that the Trustee has no evidence for her allegations of conversion or fraudulent transfer against the Defendants. Therefore, the Defendants request summary judgment in their favor on all claims against them.
Jeanne Ann Burton, Trustee v. Hagh Law PLLC et al. (In re Cummings Manookian, PLLC), AP No. 20-90002, US Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.