Hagens Berman responds with counterclaims in lawsuit brought by attorney

By John Revak | Sep 21, 2017

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) – There are new developments in a lawsuit involving Washington law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and a former employee of the firm.

The plaintiff in the case, Van Carter, moved Aug. 4 to dismiss a series of counterclaims brought by the defendants Hagens Berman and Steve W. Berman on the allegations that they are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

The counterclaims brought against Carter, who had contracted to work with Hagens Berman in 2012, include fraud, unjust enrichment and breach of implied contract.

The defendants "alleged, inter alia, that Carter had engaged in fraudulent actions and representations with respect to the contract on which Carter’s action was based, that Carter had been unjustly enriched by those actions and representations, and that Carter had breached implied contractual terms between the parties," the motion states.

The plaintiff looks to have the claims dismissed through a 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings.

In this situation, Carter claims that a 12(c) motion is warranted for all the counterclaims because their statutes of limitation have expired.

The statutes regarding fraud, unjust enrichment and breach of implied contract allow wronged parties three years to bring a claim under Washington law, the motion states.

“Even if it is found that defendants’ counterclaims relate back to the original filing of plaintiff’s complaint… that original filing date was March 14, 2016, which was more than three years after the 'discovery' of the last representation or action at issue, which was Jan. 2, 2013,” the motion reads.

Carter filed the complaint after an employment contract he signed with Hagans Berman allegedly never came to fruition. He alleged he attempted to enforce the contract but the firm refused and he subsequently brought suit for breach of contract.  

Carter seeks compensatory and punitive damages of more than $75,000 in addition to attorneys fees.

The initial complaint was brought in the federal court for the Northern District of Ohio, but the case was transferred to the federal court for the Western District of Washington, where Hagens Berman is located.

Carter is being represented by Terry A. Venneberg. The case is being heard by Judge Thomas S. Zilly.

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