SC

Charleston Legal Drama Erupts

Law firm sues one of its former attorneys … who fires back with affidavit alleging malpractice.

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A prominent Charleston, South Carolina law firm is suing one of its former attorneys – and the law firm where he now works – claiming the lawyer improperly solicited clients and “misappropriated firm resources” prior to resigning. Meanwhile, the attorney at the heart of the lawsuit is accusing his former firm of malpractice – and claiming it is losing millions of dollars.

The initial lawsuit was filed on May 23, 2024 by the Poulin Willey Anastopoulo law firm against attorney Sam Briggs – who worked at the firm from September 2023 until earlier this month as its director of medical malpractice and senior trial counsel. Briggs is currently employed by The Jeffcoat Firm, which is also named as a defendant in the case.

“Briggs did not merely attempt to contact clients that had already confirmed their desire to remain with plaintiff, he sent them wholly unsolicited fee agreements and otherwise pressured them to retain (his new firm),” the complaint alleged. “Such improper contact was confusion and upsetting to these clients.”

According to the lawsuit, Briggs embarked on a “repeated and unwanted solicitation and pressure campaign” in an effort to convince clients to follow him to the Jeffcoat firm.

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In a bruising affidavit (.pdf) submitted earlier this week in response to the lawsuit, Briggs slammed his former colleagues – accusing them of improperly handling client case files and making “ethical missteps (that) could potentially impact clients’ cases.”

Briggs claimed to have raised his concerns about these missteps to the firm’s leaders – Roy Willey, Eric Poulin and Lane Jeffries – only to be “ignored.”

Briggs further claimed that after he was hired, the firm switched its compensation model from one based on salary to one based on commission as part of a deliberate effort to force “employees they viewed as unworthy to quit.”

According to Briggs, the firm lost $4 million during the first quarter of 2024 “with more expected losses being unavoidable.” He also claimed to have uncovered an unpaid balance of more than $700,000 carried by the firm after a routine credit card transaction he attempted to make using a firm credit card was declined.

As to the allegations of improper solicitation leveled against him, Briggs stated he hired an ethics attorney – Nathan Crystal – to advise him on how “to ethically and properly resign from (the) firm while also protecting the integrity of my clients and their respective claims.”

Briggs noted he hired Crystal “because of my awareness of the mishandling of other client cases, and the proclivity of Roy Willey, Eric Poulin and Lane Jeffries to respond with unnecessary and inflammatory responses based on misrepresentations, as well as the only litigation (the firm) has with other former employees.”

Charleston’s legal community has been buzzing about this case ever since the initial paperwork was filed last week. Count on this media outlet to update our audience in the event there are any significant developments in the matter.

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BRIGGS’ AFFIDAVIT …

(S.C. Ninth Judicial Circuit)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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1 comment

9th Circuit Is Corrupt May 31, 2024 at 1:00 pm

Of course we can never believe all SC lawyers and judges are squeaky clean. Not in the private sector nor even in government.

If I were to share records I have, it would rattle the clique in Charleston. But always wise to hold your ace cards lose to your chest.

It’s amazing some Charleston attorneys are bold enough to remove records from clerk of court files and illegally walk out the door with them unknown to the clerk’ staff, Also amazing as to how orders signed by State judges are injected with things and words put in people’s mouths not even found in court reporter transcripts

Some of the untrustworthy failed in private practice and ended up in public defenders offices in their later years. But none of this is to say all attorneys are dishonest. There are absolutely good ones However, with the ways the system is structured, I have seen lots of things that would cause the public’s jaw to drop where others were afraid to speak out

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