Not an Ideal Legal Experience
MIDLAND, Texas (CN) - A woman claims in court that her lawyer "was too busy soliciting prostitutes and running for county attorney in Winkler County, Texas," to take any depositions in her case, leaving his elderly father to handle it when the son lost his law license.
Renu Idnani accuses suspended attorney Scott Tidwell, his father/law partner Jack Tidwell, and their firm Tidwell & Tidwell of fraud and deceptive trade, in Midland County Court.
In the underlying case, Idnani says, she tripped and fell on a step at a birthday party at their neighbors' home, says that she and her family attended a party for the daughter of their neighbors, fracturing her arm and shoulder. She claims she needed two surgeries and years of physical therapy that cost $142,000.
Idnani claims that during a visit to her home, Scott Tidwell persuaded her to sign up for his legal services and pursue claims against the neighbors, the Alurs.
"Plaintiff was glad to hear that Scott Tidwell was enthusiastic about her case, was impressed by his confidence and board certification and was led to believe that Scott Tidwell could recover $1 million dollars or more for her injuries and damages," Idnani says in the complaint.
But as years passed, Idnani says, Scott Tidwell neglected her case, did not return her calls, failed to talk to witnesses, and "caused material evidence to be forgotten, grow stale and disappear."
She claims Scott Tidwell was preoccupied with prostitutes.
"Unbeknownst to plaintiff in 2004, defendant Scott Tidwell had been convicted of paying prostitutes for sex," the complaint states. "Plaintiff was unaware that when she retained Scott Tidwell, he was continuing his affliction for prostitution. Rather than spending any considerable time investigating and advancing plaintiff's personal injury case, Scott Tidwell was paying prostitutes for sex and giving them money to buy drugs."
Scott Tidwell filed her complaint in Midland County Court at Law, which has a jurisdictional limit of $500,000, Idnani says.
She claims: "Scott Tidwell never intended to do any more work on plaintiff's case than was necessary to get the case to mediation so that he could obtain a quick settlement."
"On or about August 4, 2008, the attorney representing Mr. & Mrs. Alur took the deposition of plaintiff Renu Idnani," the complaint states. "Defendants failed to spend any meaningful time with plaintiff, preparing her for her deposition. More significantly, defendants never bothered to take the deposition of Prakash Alur or Kavitha Alur or any of the other 70+ witnesses at the party. Throughout the entire lawsuit defendants never even attempted to take a single deposition of any witness, despite expressly assuring plaintiff that they would do so. Scott Tidwell was too busy soliciting prostitutes and running for county attorney in Winkler County, Texas."
After Scott Tidwell won the election for county attorney in November 2008, Idnani says, his attention wandered far away from her lawsuit.
"In May 2009, Scott Tidwell was busy issuing search warrants for two nurses in Winkler County," the complaint states. "Thereafter, in June 2009, Scott Tidwell indicted two Winkler County nurses on trumped-up, politically motivated, criminal charges. In short, defendant Scott Tidwell was too busy on his political career and too busy pursuing criminal charges against two Winkler County nurses to work on plaintiff's case. The criminal charges Scott Tidwell was pursing against the two nurses would ultimately lead to Scott Tidwell being convicted of four (4) felonies and two (2) misdemeanor charges stemming from his abuse of power. According to testimony in Scott Tidwell's criminal trial he was also too busy buying lingerie for, and having sex with, prostitutes, in addition to giving them money for drugs."
One nurse was acquitted, and charges against the other were dropped, Idnani says.
In the meantime, Idnani says, 81-year-old Jack Tidwell stepped in to handle her personal injury case, while his son was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The State Bar of Texas stripped Scott Tidwell of his license on Jan. 30 this year, according to the complaint.
Six years after falling at her neighbors' home, Idnani says, her case went to trial with the senior Tidwell at the helm. She claims that Jack Tidwell botched the trial by, among other things, failing to challenge the credibility of Prakash Alur, though Idnani told her attorney that the man had been convicted of aiding and abetting mail fraud.
In the course of her own examination on the witness stand, Idnani says, "Jack Tidwell inexplicably berated plaintiff in front of the jury on several occasions."
She claims Jack Tidwell sought damages of $517,000, despite the court's $500,000 limit.
"The fact that Jack Tidwell was unaware of the jurisdictional limits of the court is also indicative of his complete lack of preparedness to try the case," according to the complaint.
Idnani seeks $517,000, plus treble and exemplary damages for legal malpractice, negligence, gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and deceptive trade. She is represented by James Twombly of Austin.