On June 13, Corpus Christi's Bandas Law Firm filed a petition and request for disclosure against Schauer & Simank and partner Ron Simank, seeking a declaratory judgment that the defendants do not have "a valid enforceable contract" that would entitle them to any portion of the attorneys' fees the Bandas firm earned for obtaining a $3.6 million verdict for client Rowmec. In its petition in Bandas Law Firm v. Schauer & Simank, et al., filed in Harris County's 333rd District Court, the firm alleges partner Christopher Bandas contacted Simank to discuss the steps necessary to collect Rowmec's judgment. The Bandas firm alleges Simank "demanded that Rowmec execute a contingent fee agreement directly with him." But Rowmec, despite Christopher Bandas' efforts, never agreed to such a deal, the petition alleges. "Nevertheless, apparently anticipating that Rowmec would ultimately enter into a contingent fee agreement" with Schauer & Simank, Schauer & Simank did some work on the matter for Rowmec, the Bandas firm alleges in the petition. On July 13, 2009, Rowmec filed Chapter 11, but Corpus Christi's Schauer & Simank did not appear or file a proof of claim against Rowmec in that bankruptcy proceeding, the Bandas firm alleges. Now, however, Schauer & Simank has demanded payment of attorneys' fees from the Bandas firm, the petition alleges. "Defendants are demanding payment of a contingent fee on terms that were never reduced to writing or disclosed or agreed to by the client (Rowmec) as required by applicable Texas law and Rules of Professional Responsibility," the Bandas firm alleges in its petition. Christopher Bandas, Ron Simank and Michael Hays, a shareholder in Houston's Hays, McConn, Rice & Pickering who represents the Bandas firm, each did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
-- Miriam Rozen