Problems Mount for TV Lawyer in Texas
DALLAS (CN) - A personal injury attorney and TV host facing state felony charges was whacked with lawsuits from a client and a former client who accuse him of malpractice.
Thomas Corea, of Palmer, was arrested on Aug. 30 after a Dallas County grand jury indicted him on four-first degree felony charges: theft of more than $200,000; misapplication of more than $200,000 by a fiduciary; securing the execution of a document worth more than $200,000 by deception; and fraudulent use and possession of identifying information.
Corea is the former host of "Ask the Lawyer with Tom Corea," a half-hour, biweekly call-in show on KTXA Channel 21, a CBS-owned station.
Now Diana Moss has sued Corea and Corea Trial Group LLC in Tarrant County Court. She claims they failed to file an automobile collision lawsuit on her behalf before the statute of limitations expired.
"During most of the representation, plaintiff Diana Moss attempted to frequently contact her attorneys, but they rarely returned her phone calls or contacted her," the 36-page complaint states. "Finally, around January 25, 2012, plaintiff Diana Moss fired defendants and collected her case file from them."
Moss claims the defendants knew her claim would be lost on Nov. 11, 2011, yet they filed no lawsuit on her behalf in spite of having drafted the complaint.
She cites a March 2011 demand letter the defendants sent that stated "liability in this case is clear" and another demand letter that was never sent that stated that the other driver was "100 percent liable for the accident" and that "[b]ecause of the injuries received by [plaintiff], we strongly believe a Dallas County jury will return a verdict in excess of [plaintiff's] demand."
The day after Moss sued, Harlan Cannon Sr. sued Corea and his law firm, The Corea Firm PLLC, in Dallas County Court. Cannon claims he hired Corea to pursue a Vioxx products liability claim and that a settlement was reached, but Corea refuses to turn over the money.
"Mr. Cannon has repeatedly requested disbursement of his funds to no avail," the 5-page complaint states. "Due to the failure of the defendants to respond, a grievance has been filed with the State Bar."
Cannon claims the Bar concluded in August that his grievance alleges professional misconduct, and that the grievance is pending.
Cannon says he has cooperated with Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins' investigation into Corea's alleged failure to pay Vioxx settlement money to several clients.
"Corea is accused of stealing settlement funds from his clients' trust accounts, using false information to secure financial loans, and stealing identities to apply for various loans and credit cards," Watkins' office said in a statement on Sept. 6.
Cannon seeks punitive damages for legal malpractice, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, theft, conversion and negligence. He is represented by William Dippel of Dallas.
Moss seeks punitive damages for legal malpractice, breach of contract and negligence. She is represented by Gregory Wilder of Fort Worth.