Class Says Firm Illegally Filed Oil Spill Claims

     MOBILE, Ala. (CN) – A Georgia company operating out of New Orleans is illegally handling BP oil spill claims – and placing liens against recoveries – though it does not have any licensed attorneys, a class action claims in Federal Court.
     Lead plaintiff Beaufort Engineering Services sued Full Scope Services LLC, claiming it’s been targeting people and businesses in Alabama who were hurt by the oil spill, even after the Alabama Bar Association issued an ethics opinion last year that oil spill claim representation by consulting firms is illegal.
     Beaufort Engineering Services (BES) seeks to represent plaintiffs “who have suffered economic harm as a result of defendant Full Scope Services LLC’s unlicensed practice of law with respect to filing and prosecuting of claims before the former Gulf Coast Claims Facility (herein ‘GCCF’) and/or the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center Economic & Property Damage Claims, MDL 2179 In Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig ‘Deepwater Horizon’ in Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 (sometimes herein after ‘Claims Facility’).”
     Beaufort Engineering says it “contracted with the defendant Full Scope Services LLC to file and prosecute a claim for economic losses resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Full Scope Services’ unlicensed practice of law as described herein has directly and proximately caused economic damage to the plaintiff. BES terminated the contract by letter dated January 11, 2012. The defendant proceeded to place a lien on the plaintiff’s claim before the claims facility. Despite being enforced by the claims facility, this lien is invalid as described herein and has directly and proximately caused economic damage to the plaintiff.”
     Plaintiff Kelly Builders Inc. claims it terminated its contract with Full Scope “and hired legal representation in 2012. The defendant proceeded to send an itemized bill to the plaintiff, and to place a lien on the plaintiff’s claim before the claims facility. Plaintiff satisfied the lien. Despite being enforced by the claims facility, this lien is invalid as described herein and has directly and proximately caused economic damage to the plaintiff.”
     Class members have filed claims before the GCCF or Claims Facility by contracting with Full Scope Services.
     “All plaintiffs accordingly have been economically harmed by Full Scope Service LLC’s unlicensed practice of law,” the lawsuit states.
     “According to Full Scope’s website, they hold themselves out to be a disaster recovery entity that helps businesses through the GCCF and the claims facility’s claims process. … By their own admission, they do not employ lawyers: ‘Our team includes certified property adjusters and appraisers, certified public accountants, and forensic accountants, as well as economic, financial and legal consultants.’ … Full Scope purposefully availed itself to the jurisdiction of this honorable court by soliciting the business of Alabama claimants and filing their claims before the GCCF and/or claims facility. Defendant Full Scope does not employ individuals authorized to practice law in Alabama, or upon information and belief, in any state. Additionally, on August 1, 2013, a Writ for Quo Warranto was issued in Baldwin County, Alabama against the defendant enjoining the defendant from the unauthorized practice of law,” according to the complaint.
     “In 2013 the Alabama State Bar Association Office of General Counsel issued Ethics Opinion 2013-01 which clearly established that prosecuting an Alabama claimant’s BP claim before the claims facility by accounting or consulting firms such as Full Scope is illegal as it is the unlicensed practice of law. …
     “Upon information and belief, at the time of the filing of this class action complaint, Full Scope Services continues to solicit claimants (including Alabama individuals and businesses), continues to file claims before the claims facility on their behalf, continues to prosecute already filed claims, and is attempting to force any liens for services performed on claims.” (Citations omitted.)
     Plaintiffs estimate the class in the thousands of Alabama people and entities.
     It seeks cancellation of any claims brought to the claims facility by Full Scope Services, and damages for conversion and unjust enrichment.
     Full Scope Services could not be reached Tuesday for a statement.
     The plaintiffs are represented by Frederick T. Kuykendall III of Kuykendall & Associates LLC of Fairhope, Ala.

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