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DALLAS (Legal Newsline) – A South Carolina legal finance company has dismissed its Texas fraud case against a property casualty insurer, a law firm and a national bank, but it appears it plans on refiling in a different state.
Skylar Coone, owner of Lawsuit Lending Now, and its lead attorney - James Irvin of the Irvin Law Firm in Myrtle Beach, S.C. - confirmed in separate Legal Newsline interviews that the case originally filed in Dallas federal court has been dismissed. Both also said the case is expected to be refiled in South Carolina.
"Now, the case has not yet been filed in South Carolina," Irvin said. "You can suspect there are negotiations but I'm not going to confirm that."
Irvin did confirm that his preference is to settle cases outside of court. His client's case against Progressive Insurance, the Herzog Law Firm and JPMorgan Chase Bank alleged fraud and breach of contract.
"All of us who practice law would rather settle lawsuits than fight them," he said. "Not all litigants agree with that, but it's better to settle than to fight. And it's been my practice in 49 years of practicing law to settle rather than go to court."
Coone is a resident of Myrtle Beach. Lawsuit Lending Now provides cash advances to litigants.
If the case is refiled in South Carolina, it will be substantively the same as was filed in Texas this past December, Irvin said. That case was filed Dec. 3,
The legal finance company entered into purchase agreements with the Herzog Law Firm, and individuals defendants in the case signed and executed the assignment of lien, security interest and assignment of proceeds in May 2014, the lawsuit said.
Lawsuit Lending Now then wired funds to the litigant seeking representation and JP Morgan Chase Bank.
On June 24, 2014, Michael Herzog emailed Kathryn Smith, an employee of Progressive Insurance, advising the firm was not representing the litigant but that arrangements had been made to pay Herzog's attorneys fees, the lawsuit said.
The litigant then accepted $100,000 from Progressive Insurance, which he deposited into the same JPMorgan Chase account into which Lawsuit Lending Now had previously wired advance funds, the lawsuit said.
The suit alleges the litigant and Herzog contrived a plan prior to seeking the advance from Lawsuit Lending Now and appropriated the funds for their own benefit without repaying Lawsuit Lending Now.
Lawsuit Lending Now was represented by attorney Douglas J. Brooks of the Brooks Firm in Dallas as long as the case was active in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Irvin became the plaintiff's attorney after the case was dismissed, Coone said.