(CN) - Florida-based consulting firms sued a local attorney for allegedly taking it upon herself to contact their clients, vendors, attorneys and former employees with tall tales of illegal behavior after they opted not to use her counsel.
Big Apple Consulting USA, Big Apple Equities and Management Solutions International provide consulting services that include "public relations, investor relations, and assistance with compliance on the OTC Markets, introductory service to securities counsel, auditors and accountants, advice on going public, product placement and many others as well," according to their complaint in Palm Beach County's 15th Judicial Circuit Court.
The firms say they sought securities counsel advice from attorney Brenda Hamilton and inquired about how to legally obtain free trading shares from clients in return for their services.
In that meeting the firms told Hamilton that they were being wrongly sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission over public relations and consulting services they provided to CyberKey Solutions and its former CEO James Plant, who committed elaborate securities fraud, according to the complaint.
"After the meeting, it was mutually decided that it would be best if Hamilton and Big Apple did not work together inasmuch as their views regarding certain issues were diametrically opposed," the firms say.
But the parties apparently did not part amicably.
"Despite strong evidence that the Defendants were victims of - rather than participants in - the fraud perpetrated by Plant and CyberKey, Hamilton is intent on distributing both the Complaints and subsequent motions filed by the SEC in an attempt to further injure and humiliate Plaintiffs," the complaint states.
Without researching the matter, Hamilton contacted their clients and vendors, sometimes on a weekly basis, and sent them hundreds of pages of documents, the firms say.
When Big Apple filed a bar grievance against Hamilton, she retaliated by filing grievances against Big Apple's attorneys, the complaint states.
"As a result these attorneys are reluctant to work with Plaintiffs," the firms say.
Hamilton also filed an unauthorized practice-of-law complaint against the plaintiff firms and their former employees, who are now also reluctant to work with them, according to the complaint.
"In all the respective Bar Complaints, and subsequent UPL Complaint, Defendant was grossly negligent in her due diligence," the firms say. "Defendant did not properly research the allegations nor was she proper in bringing the UPL complaint against Plaintiffs as she was never a client of Plaintiffs."
Hamilton even went so far as to send copies of the SEC complaint against the firms and summary-judgment motion to Artfest International and Alpine Securities, a clearing house that the firms use to sell stock, thereby restricting the firms abilities to sell its securities.
The firms sued Hamilton, Hamilton and Associates Law Group and Hamilton & Lehrer for breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with business relationships and injunctive relief. They are represented by David Popper with South Milhausen in Orlando.
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