MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) - An Alabama plaintiffs attorney who last year sued one of the largest full service legal support companies settled with the company last month.
In August, plaintiff Barry W. Walker, doing business as Walker Law LLC, filed a declaratory judgment action against defendants Minnesota-based Civil Action Group Ltd. and Civil Action Finance LLC in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Civil Action Group, in response to Walker’s declaratory judgment action, filed a notice of removal to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division, in September.
Last month, Judge Gray Michael Borden -- who took over the case for Judge Charles Coody, who was originally assigned to the lawsuit -- issued an order directing Walker to show cause as to why the case shouldn’t be dismissed for his failure to respond to a previous court order.
In a Nov. 4 order, Chief Judge W. Keith Watkins instructed Walker to “cure the deficiencies” in his bar membership and file a notice of appearance, or have an attorney who is a member of the court’s bar file a notice of appearance for Walker.
“Barry W. Walker is an attorney who purports to represent his law firm, Barry W. Walker, LLC, on a ‘pro se’ basis,” Watkins wrote in the order. “However, an artificial entity cannot appear pro se and must be represented by counsel.”
In addition, Walker’s bar membership had not been renewed and his bar admission fee was delinquent, the judge said.
Watkins gave Walker until Nov. 17 to rectify the situation.
However, two months went by with no filings by Walker, prompting Borden to issue his order.
Borden gave Walker a Jan. 19 deadline to file his show cause response. Walker filed his response with the federal court Jan. 12, claiming he filed for readmission -- along with the appropriate fee -- on Nov. 15 and was re-admitted to practice before the court.
Ten days later, on Jan. 22, a consent motion to dismiss was filed by all parties. Watkins, in an order last week, agreed to close the case. Details of the settlement were not made public.
Walker, in his lawsuit, alleged the company demanded payment but had no valid contract and cut off his only means of financing his cases.
His law firm, located in Birmingham, focuses on wrongful death lawsuits, business litigation, complex civil litigation and medical malpractice lawsuits.
He entered into a contract with Civil Action Group for services and financial support regarding his legal practice in 2008.
Among the services the company provides are: national service of process, international service of process, language and translation services, medical records retrieval, surveillance, depositions and court reporting, e-discovery and computer forensics, and finance and legal support.
Walker argued in his state court filing that the 2008 contract was voidable because the terms of the contract were never completely “performed nor observed” by either party.
Civil Action Group claimed a debt of at least $455,000, with interest accruing and compounding daily.
Walker disputed the amount of the debt, and questioned the company’s business practices and the accuracy of its accounting.
Walker argued he attempted to “work the matter out” with the defendants, but that the company terminated the 2008 contract in March 2014.
The company then started a collection effort against him, consisting of “incessant” emails and calls, requesting “unrealistic” updates and explanations that Walker said he could not provide given he was and is engaged in an active law practice.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.