Dueling Law Firms

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge ruled that the Law Firm of John Arthur Eaves could be on the hook for stiffing Winston & Strawn for $279,400 in legal fees.
     Winston Strawn sued Eaves after the firm stopped paying its monthly retainer, but John Eaves argued that his firm does not exist and that the Winston complaint failed to state a claim for breach of contract because it failed to accurately name the parties.
     U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled that the Mississippi-based Eaves Law is a partnership that can be sued, stating that "when entering into the agreement with W&S, Eaves signed on behalf of 'The Law Firm of John Arthur Eaves.'"
     The judge added: "W&S's complaint adequately pleads a breach of contract because ... the complaint identifies the parties to the contract and the contract's material terms, discusses W&S's performance of the contract, and alleges how Eaves Law Firm breached the contract."
     The judge determined that a contract does exist between the two parties and that Winston accurately identified Eaves' firm in its complaint, and dismissed Eaves' motion to dismiss.