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Ex-Law Partners Blast One Another in Court

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - A lawyer countersued his former partners, claiming they defamed him by accusing him of fire-bombing their home after they fired him.

Mark R. Bates sued Beth C. Boggs, and Boggs, Avellino, Lach & Boggs, in St. Louis Count Court.

Boggs and her husband, Thomas, sued Bates in September, claiming he was so disgruntled about being fired that he and an unknown accomplice fire-bombed their house on Oct. 1, 2010.

That litigation is pending. Bates has not been criminally charged in the bombing.

Bates claims Boggs defamed him after he left her firm - fka Boggs, Boggs & Bates - in 2008. As part of Bates' departure, the parties agreed to transfer around 300 litigation files to his new firm, according to Bates's complaint.

Bates claims Boggs started contacting his clients in 2010, telling them that "she was placing plaintiff's name on the suspect list she was submitting to law enforcement of people she suspected might have been involved in an incident at her home on 10/1/10."

Bates claims in his complaint: "The defamatory statements about the plaintiff defendant Boggs uttered stated that plaintiff:

"Was responsible for the murder of Ernest Brasier

"Had gambling debts

"Was being divorced by his wife

"Was found to be in possession of an illegal assault weapon in his vehicle."

Brasier, a partner in the Boggs firm, was found murdered at his desk in 2006, with a tiny bullet hole in his head. His killing remains unsolved.

Bates claims his professional relationships and reputation have been damaged.

He seeks damages for tortious interference with business expectation and defamation. He filed the complaint pro se.

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