Terry W. Yates and his firm, Terry W. Yates PC, have been fighting with Dynegy Inc. for seven years, trying to collect attorney fees they allege the Houston-based energy company owes them for representing one of its former executives in a federal criminal case. According to a July 13 order by the Texas Supreme Court, Yates and his firm will have to wait even longer for the case to be resolved.
The high court abated, as of July 6, the petition for review in Dynegy Inc. v. Terry W. Yates and Terry W. Yates PC. The petition for review is Dynegy’s appeal of a decision from San Antonio’s 4th Court of Appeals, which awarded Yates and his firm actual damages of $448,556 in attorney fees.
Yates declines comment but refers a call to his lawyer, Wanda Fowler, a partner in Houston’s Wright & Close who represents Yates and his firm. She explains that the high court abated the case because Dynegy filed for bankruptcy on July 6 in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, a move that stays state court litigation.
Yates and his firm are currently consulting with a bankruptcy attorney about pursuing a lift of the bankruptcy court’s stay. “It was a huge criminal trial and he deserves to get” the fees he and his firm were awarded, Fowler says.
Russell Post, a partner in Houston’s Beck Redden & Secrest who represents Dynegy, notes that sometimes debtors agree to lift stays of bankruptcy proceedings to prosecute appeals. But, he says, “given the importance of the larger business issues facing Dynegy, no decision has been made regarding lifting the stay.”
— John Council