Doc Says Lawyer’s Pulling a Fast One

     DALLAS (CN) – A doctor claims in court that an attorney who owes him $148,000 in fees had him falsely arrested, and sends him $250 checks marked as “Full and final settlement,” for bills that actually run into the thousands.
     Dr. Sameer Fino sued Stephen W. Shoultz in Dallas County Court.
     Fino claims he sees Shoultz’s clients under a “long standing agreement,” and gets paid when each case settles or when final judgment is collected. He says Shoultz often asked him to reduce his fees to accommodate a settlement.
     “Dr. Fino would agree to the reduction in fees, however, on a number of occasions, he was not paid the amount that was agreed to in writing,” the complaint states.
     “Instead, attorney Schoultz would consistently send a check for a nominal amount such as $250 which read ‘Full and final settlement,’ even in cases in which Dr. Fino would testify at attorney Schoultz’s request. These checks were not cashed.”
     Fino claims Schoultz sent him such a check for a $2,800 fee that he later agreed to reduce to $1,400. He says he was shocked when he received a copy of a disbursement sheet that Shoultz provided to the patient/client for that case.
     “The disbursement sheet given to the client fraudulently showed that Dr. Fino had been paid the $1,400 he had agreed to reduce his fee to, not the $250 that the check was made out for,” the complaint states.
     Fino claims Shoultz owes him more than $148,000 in unpaid fees.
     He also complains that Shoultz contacted him on Feb. 18, 2011, about a trial that required his testimony that was set to begin in four days.
     Fino says he told Shoultz he would be out of town, yet Shoultz caused a trial subpoena to be delivered to him on Feb. 21, 2011.
     “Dr. Fino was not personally served with the subpoena, and did not see it prior to the time for trial,” the complaint states.
     “On or about February 23, 2011, Dr. Fino was arrested at his clinic, and taken out of there in front of his patients, for an alleged failure to attend the trial pursuant to the subpoena, and taken before the judge to determine if he would be jailed for contempt.”
     Fino claims that Shoultz caused a capias writ to be entered by the court, resulting in his arrest.
     He says that though he was not jailed, his medical practice was disrupted and he was “highly embarrassed” to be taken away by deputy sheriffs.
     Fino seeks actual and punitive damages for breach of contract, money had and received, fraud, unjust enrichment, abuse of process, malicious prosecution and gross negligence.
     He is represented by Angela Norris, with Kennedy & Minshew, of Sherman.

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