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Plaintiff wants no part in Conn. law firm’s lawsuit against former employee

By Jessica Karmasek | Mar 30, 2016

Sergei Lemberg

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - A plaintiff in a proposed Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action says he doesn’t want to be involved in a Connecticut law firm’s lawsuit against a former employee and one of his former attorneys.

Cory Horton, the plaintiff in the class action Horton v. Cavalry Portfolio Services LLC, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in 2013, has asked another California federal court to quash a subpoena from Lemberg Law LLC.

Horton also has requested the Northern District of California enter a protective order prohibiting “any future efforts” by Lemberg Law to subpoena him in Lemberg Law LLC v. Tammy Hussin et. al.

He argues in his 11-page motion that he has an attorney-client relationship with Tammy Hussin, who Lemberg Law sued last year following her departure from the firm as a contract associate. Horton also contends forcing him to testify regarding information that is already known by the parties would “create an undue burden on him.”

As of late Wednesday, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero, who is listed as presiding over the matter, had yet to issue an order on the motion.

In May 2015, Lemberg Law filed its lawsuit against Hussin in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

The firm, which has an office in Stamford, Conn., focuses on representing consumers in federal consumer protection matters throughout the U.S.

Hussin, a California attorney, is a former contract attorney at Lemberg Law. She resides in San Diego.

Lemberg Law’s complaint took issue with the period of time following Hussin’s departure.

According to the complaint, Hussin worked with the firm for close to three years -- from 2011 to 2014 -- and then decided to launch her own law firm. Lemberg Law and Hussin arrived at a separation agreement that outlined work and payment arrangements for the firm’s clients that Hussin represented in California.

The firm’s complaint alleged that Hussin didn’t make the payments required under the agreement.

It also alleged that Hussin electronically transferred Lemberg Law client lists; pleadings and confidential settlement documents; proprietary manuals and memoranda on handling consumer law cases under the TCPA and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act; templates of discovery requests and responses, in individual and class action cases, in California as well as in other States, such as Georgia and Illinois; and sample credit report dispute letters; among other items.

In her counterclaim, Hussin criticized the firm’s business practices and alleged Sergei Lemberg has failed to pay her amounts she contends are owed.

Lemberg, himself, has dismissed his former employee’s accusations.

“As a lawyer, I trust the legal system to work its course,” he said in a November statement. “We expect to prevail in front of a Connecticut jury at trial, if not sooner.”

In a recent declaration, Hussin contends the accusations lodged against her are false and that the lawsuit has caused her just as much embarrassment and damage as it has her former employer.

“I have been an attorney for 25 years, and never once have been accused of improper conduct,” she wrote in her March 15 filing in the District of Connecticut. “I take great pride in my reputation, and have consistently been praised by colleagues and clients alike.”

Hussin contends she was forced to file a counterclaim in the lawsuit.

“I felt it was important to tell the whole story, and to not allow Lemberg’s Complaint to stand alone causing damage to my reputation,” she wrote.

“Although the allegations cast a bad light on Lemberg, it is he who chose this public forum and a responsive pleading was unavoidable.”

Judge Michael P. Shea has been assigned to the Connecticut lawsuit.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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