Judges

Houston’s Cindy Garza-Farmer Sues Her Divorce Lawyers and Ex-Hubby’s Business in Ongoing Feud

The real story here is the corruption in the Houston Courts in Harris County where legal conflicts could be construed as criminal conspiracy.

THE DIVORCE of GARZA v. GARZA represented by TWO BEST BUDDY LAWYERS

That’s right, opposing counsel during the working day, best of friends after hours and on weekends or vacations.

Trial Court: The Honorable Lisa Millard, 310th District Court, Harris County, Texas

(Millard Lost Seat at 2018 Election)

Appellate Court: Justice Marc W. Brown for the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, Houston, Texas ((Boyce, Jamison, Brown, JJ.)

(Brown Lost Seat at 2018 Election)

Current status: Trial has been deferred with a new date set for June 20, 2022 at the request of Bobby Newman. Granted by Judge Jaclanel M. McFarland, 133rd District Court, Harris County, Texas

OCT 19, 2021

“At no point did the Ramos Defendants advise Plaintiff of Rick Ramos’s close personal relationship with her ex-husband’s counsel, Bobby Newman.

Some indications of this friendship include Ramos flying as a personal guest on Newman’s private jet and Ramos’s acceptance of numerous referrals from Newman.

To add to the lists of things the Ramos Defendants failed to disclose, it turns out that he admitted later that he is “friends” with Farmer’s sister and that their children are close friends and regularly attend the Racquet Club together.”

THE FARMER's DIVORCE WITH ZEALOUS 'OPPOSING COUNSEL'

PLAINTIFF’S FIRST AMENDED PETITION

TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT:

COMES NOW Plaintiff, CINDY GARZA-FARMER, files this First Amended Petition, complaining of RICARDO L. RAMOS, INDIVIDUALLY, RICARDO L. RAMOS, P.L.L.C., JD BUCKY ALLSHOUSE, INDIVIDUALLY, J.D. BUCKY ALLSHOUSE, P.C., and I.C.S., INC…, and respectfully shows the following:

I. DISCOVERY CONTROL PLAN

1. Pursuant to TEX. R. CIV. P. 190.4, Plaintiff requests discovery be conducted under a Level 3 discovery control plan.

II. PARTIES

2. CINDY GARZA-FARMER is a citizen and resident of Harris County, Texas and was a citizen and resident of Harris County, Texas at all times relevant to this suit.

3. Defendant RICARDO L. RAMOS is an individual residing in Harris County, Texas and has been cited, served and appeared in this action.

4. Defendant RICARDO L. RAMOS, P.L.L.C. is a Texas Professional Limited Liability Company with its principal place of business located at 440 Louisiana St, Suite 1500, Houston, TX 77002 and has been cited, served and appeared in this action.

5. Defendant J.D. BUCKY ALLSHOUSE is an individual residing in Harris County, Texas and has been cited, served and appeared in this action.

6. J.D. BUCKY ALLSHOUSE, P.C. is a Texas Professional Corporation with its principal place of business located at 3 Riverway, Suite 1420, Houston, TX 77056 and has been cited, served and appeared in this action.

7. Defendant I.C.S., INC. is a Texas For-Profit Corporation with its principal place of business located at P.O. Box 2008, Freeport, Texas 77541. Defendant may be served with process by serving its registered agent John C. Farmer at 2802 FM 523, P.O. Box 2008, Freeport, Texas 77541, or wherever he may be found.

8. Defendants RICARDO L. RAMOS, INDIVIDUALLY, and RICARDO L. RAMOS, P.L.L.C. may be hereinafter referred to as “Ramos” or “the Ramos Defendants.”

9. Defendants JD BUCKY ALLSHOUSE, INDIVIDUALLY and J.D. BUCKY ALLSHOUSE, P.C. may be hereinafter referred to as “Allshouse” or “the Allshouse Defendants.”

10. Defendants RICARDO L. RAMOS, INDIVIDUALLY, RICARDO L. RAMOS, P.L.L.C., JD BUCKY ALLSHOUSE, INDIVIDUALLY and J.D. BUCKY ALLSHOUSE, P.C. may be hereinafter referred to as the “Malpractice Defendants.”

III. JURISDICTION

11. The amount in controversy exceeds this Court’s minimum jurisdictional requirements.

12. Plaintiffs seeks the recovery of monetary relief over $1,000,000.

IV. VENUE

13. Pursuant to TEX. CIV. PRAC. REM. CODE §15.002, venue for this action is proper in Harris County, Texas because all or a substantial part of the transactions or occurrences made the basis of this lawsuit occurred in Harris County, Texas, and one or more of the Defendants resides in or has its principal place of business in Harris County, Texas.

14. Plaintiff expressly disavows that any claims are being made pursuant to federal law, treaties, or constitution. The amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00 and there is a lack of complete diversity because at least one plaintiff and one defendant are both citizens of Texas. Therefore, any removal, or consent to removal, of this case to federal court would be improper.

V. NOTICE

15. Plaintiff will show that in accordance with Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and all applicable Texas statutes, any and all notice required by law was given.

VI. DEFINITIONS

16. Wherever in this petition the phrase “Defendants” or “Malpractice Defendants” is used, such term refers jointly and collectively as well as severally to the conduct of all of the Defendants in this action whether acting in concert or separately.

17. Wherever in this petition Ramos and/or the Ramos Defendants are referred to as doing any act or thing or failing to do any act or thing, such reference includes the corporate entity, as well the officers, agents, servants, representatives, and/or employees of said Defendants, such shall mean or refer to any individual or joint acts of same.

18. Wherever in this petition Allshouse and/or the Allshouse Defendants are referred to as doing any act or thing or failing to do any act or thing, such reference includes the corporate entity, as well the officers, agents, servants, representatives, and/or employees of said Defendants, such shall mean or refer to any individual or joint acts of same.

19. Wherever in this petition I.C.S., INC. is referred to as doing any act or thing or failing to do any act or thing, such reference includes the corporate entity, as well the officers, agents, servants, representatives, and/or employees of said Defendant, such shall mean or refer to any individual or joint acts of same.

20. Wherever in this petition Defendants or Malpractice Defendants are referred to as doing any act or thing or failing to do any act or thing, individually or collectively, such reference includes the corporate entity, as well the officers, agents, servants, representatives, and/or employees of said Defendants.

VII. STATUS OF PARTIES

21. At times material to this lawsuit, Cindy Garza-Farmer was a natural person and party to a divorce related to this litigation. This divorce action was Cause No. 2015-15899; In the Matter of the Marriage of Cindy Danielle Farmer and John Clinton Farmer and in the Interest of A.D.F. and K.A.F., Children, in the 310th District Court of Harris County, Texas and is simply referred to herein as the “divorce.”

22. At times material to this lawsuit, Malpractice Defendants were lawyers licensed by the State of Texas and provided legal services to Cindy Garza-Farmer as her lawyer in the divorce.

23. At times material to this lawsuit, Malpractice Defendants provided such legal services individually and/or through their law firms, which are also defendants in this action.

24. At all times material to this lawsuit, Malpractice Defendants owed a fiduciary obligation to Cindy Garza-Farmer as her legal representation.

25. Plaintiff would show that at all times material to this lawsuit, Defendant Ricardo L. Ramos owned, managed, controlled and/or operated Ricardo L. Ramos, P.L.L.C., and is liable for its actions.

Moreover, the Ramos Defendants held themselves out to the public, including Plaintiff, as competent and qualified to provide such legal services with all the necessary care, skill and integrity expected of a lawyer or law firm in the State of Texas.

26. Plaintiff would show that at all times material to this lawsuit, J.D. Bucky Allshouse owned, managed, controlled and/or operated J.D. Bucky Allshouse, P.C., and is liable for its actions. Moreover, the Allshouse Defendants held themselves out to the public, including Plaintiff, as competent and qualified to provide such legal services with all the necessary care, skill and integrity expected of a lawyer or law firm in the State of Texas.

27. At times material to this lawsuit, Defendant I.C.S., INC. was an industrial construction company operating as a commercial general contractor service.

OPPOSING COUNSEL AND BESTIES

HOUSTON LAWYERS BOBBY NEWMAN AND RICK RAMOS

VIII. FACTUAL BACKGROUND – MALPRACTICE DEFENDANTS

28. Plaintiff was married to John Clinton Farmer (“Farmer”), a director and owner of I.C.S., INC. After discovering egregious misconduct during the marriage by her husband, including rampant extra-marital affairs, prostitutes, wasting of hundreds of thousands of dollars on same, as well as the diversion of potentially millions of dollars from the community estate through fraud, Ms. Garza-Farmer sought out representation by the Allshouse Defendants.

Unbelievably, the Allshouse Defendants’ initial advice to Plaintiff basically amounted to “why do you want to get a divorce, you have houses and money.” The Allshouse Defendants rather recommended that she see a “Christian marital counselor.” Obviously not thrilled with that advice, Plaintiff elected to file for divorce, quite understandably.

29. The Allshouse Defendants filed Ms. Garza-Farmer’s divorce on or about March 18, 2015.

30. The Farmer’s marital estate was worth, at minimum, millions of dollars. Yet, due to the actions of the Defendants, Plaintiff barely ended up with enough money to support herself and her children.

The allegations and evidence supported that Farmer and I.C.S., INC. were diverting millions of dollars. I.C.S., INC. attempted to cover up this fraud by voluntarily producing sham financial records during the divorce.

But none of the Malpractice Defendants made even the most cursory attempt to establish this, even in light of the clear evidence. Plaintiff personally provided evidence of Farmer’s waste, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty to her counsel as well as a list of persons whom could be deposed who had knowledge of both the financial misdeeds and the extramarital misconduct.

This same information was provided to the Allshouse Defendants and the Ramos Defendants during their respective representations of her.

31. Malpractice Defendants in this action held themselves out to be skilled lawyers who could more than adequately represent Plaintiff’s interests.

Yet she never received adequate representation and spent over $300,000 in attorney’s fees to this point.

What she got from Malpractice Defendants was what amounted to a failure to perform necessary services, a comedy of errors on rudimentary tenants of representation, and a good old-fashioned, “you’re the woman, take what we get you and don’t complain” kind of railroading.

32. On September 19, 2016, nineteen months after filing for divorce, Plaintiff was forced under duress into an agreement to resolve her divorce based on the circumstances set forth in this petition below; Plaintiff’s divorce decree was entered October 26, 2016 by way of a final divorce decree that did not even comport with the terms of the agreement she allegedly entered to resolve her divorce. The remainder of this petition will explain how that happened.

The Allshouse Defendants’ Failure to Conduct Discovery.

33. The Allshouse Defendants were replaced as counsel in late July 2016 by the Ramos Defendants. Prior to that, they had been counsel to Plaintiff for nearly a year and a half, other than a brief period where another lawyer was assisting Plaintiff. During this time, the heroic efforts made by the Allshouse Defendants to conduct proper discovery on the marital estate of the Farmers consisted of one form set of written discovery requests.

With this multi-million-dollar estate in their hands, the Allshouse Defendants did no, literally no, additional discovery regarding assets in or outside of the estate.

A simple look at this estate revealed that the Farmers were living a lifestyle well above Farmer’s purported “salary” according to fraudulent financial records produced by I.C.S., INC…, which was in the millions of dollars prior to the divorce.

Yet, no discovery was done to find out where the missing millions of dollars was coming from, or how it was being diverted out of the community estate.

34. The parties had evidence that Farmer and I.C.S., INC. had diverted potentially millions of dollars. There were unaccounted for expenditures in the same vein. Yet no discovery was done to get to the bottom of the fraud committed by Farmer and I.C.S., INC. at Plaintiff’s expense, even after repeated inquiries from Plaintiff as well as her supplying her counsel with documents to aid in establishing this.

There was no attempt made to conduct any proper discovery on the massive waste claims that should have provided recovery to Plaintiff. And on top of that, the Allshouse Defendants took not even one deposition. Not even one.

35. It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand where the substantial sums paid to the Allshouse Defendants went, nor what they did to earn it.

The Allshouse Defendants’ Refusal to Hire or Manage a Necessary Financial Expert.

36. In addition to the complete lack of effort provided by the Allshouse Defendants in conducting discovery, the Allshouse Defendants flatly refused to hire a financial expert witness.

Despite repeated requests from Plaintiff, and despite the fact that Farmer and his counsel had a major financial firm designated as an expert witness, the Allshouse Defendants refused to hire a financial expert witness.

The Allshouse Defendants simply rebutted the request by their client for a financial expert witness with words to the effect of, “what do you want to do that for, you’ll spend $150,000 and you’ll end up just wasting it.”

And apparently this philosophy was still proffered in the face of high-priced financial expert witnesses offered by her husband, a clear sign of the necessity of their own financial expert.

37. The result of this was unbelievable. The Allshouse Defendants left Plaintiff, a non- lawyer, to locate, hire and assist a financial expert on her own, with no knowledge of the necessary requirements of the work to be performed or the standard of admissibility of this expert’s testimony.

But on her own, Plaintiff hired Robert Adams, a financial expert, and gave her best effort to help herself. Apparently, the substantial sums in fees she paid to the Allshouse Defendants did not even, in their mind, warrant their assistance with this undertaking that requires legal expertise. They simply let her fend for herself.

38. It is critical to note that the Allshouse Defendants’ failure to work with and develop Mr. Adams’ expert witness report and testimony caused the eventual exclusion of his testimony. The Ramos Defendants were no better and then used the fact of his exclusion to force Plaintiff into a settlement that no lawyer in his right mind would have advised her to accept.

Enter the Ramos Defendants, the Mediation, and More Fees for Unknown Services to the Allshouse Defendants.

39. In early July 2016, with a trial looming, the parties attended a mediation. It became clear to Plaintiff at this time that the Allshouse Defendants simply wanted her to take whatever pittance her husband and his multi-million dollar/year salary would offer, collect his fees and carry on. The mediation ended at an impasse, called by Plaintiff.

40. At her wits end, Ms. Plaintiff did the only thing she could think to do—she terminated her relationship with the Allshouse Defendants and retained the Ramos Defendants to assist her.

At no point did the Ramos Defendants advise Plaintiff of Rick Ramos’s close personal relationship with her ex-husband’s counsel, Bobby Newman.

In fact, Ramos was specifically asked by Plaintiff if he had any relationship with Newman and/or any conflicts with representing her due to Newman representing her husband. Ramos denied any personal relationship with Newman other than professionally and indicated that he regularly opposes Newman and regularly prevails over him. Ramos failed to disclose their close personal friendship.

Some indications of this friendship include Ramos flying as a personal guest on Newman’s private jet and Ramos’s acceptance of numerous referrals from Newman.

41. Early on, Ramos made it a point to be openly critical of Mr. Allshouse’s representation of Plaintiff, making repeated statements about how Allshouse “had done nothing on her case” and related accusations.

To add to the lists of things the Ramos Defendants failed to disclose, it turns out that he admitted later that he is “friends” with Farmer’s sister and that their children are close friends and regularly attend the Racquet Club together.

42. If the Allshouse Defendants had not already charged enough for little to no work, they then intervened in the divorce seeking an additional $30,000 in fees, which was not objected to by the Ramos Defendants, and without consent of Plaintiff. And the problems worsened.

The Astounding Lack of Discovery Continued.

43. Under the Ramos Defendants’ watch, no, again literally no, additional written discovery was performed. The Ramos Defendants did not want to depose any witnesses either. At the insistence of Ms. Garza-Farmer, which should not have had to occur, the Ramos Defendants begrudgingly agreed to depose her husband and allow her deposition to take place. For one hour each. At 6:30 p.m. Three days before trial. And that’s it.

The Bizarre August 26, 2016 Hearing.

44. After repeatedly indicating the necessity of a continuance to his client, Ramos finally filed a motion for continuance, along with a motion to award him interim attorneys’ fees (note that Ramos had explained to his client that he could seek an award of fees to be paid by her husband or the community estate to cover his fees). The parties, including Plaintiff, attended a hearing on these two motions on August 26, 2016. The Presiding Judge was not present that day, so the Associate Judge presided.

45. The lawyers went into Judge’s chambers/Associate Judge’s room but excluded Plaintiff. The lawyers emerged and Plaintiff was pulled aside by Ramos, who left her with the clear understanding that this divorce could not be continued, nor could it proceed in any manner, unless she went into (this time) open court and agreed on the record to withdraw $50,000 from her separate property IRA retirement account (which happened to be Plaintiff’s only separate property monetary asset) to pay the Ramos Defendants. And all of this occurred after the Ramos Defendants
agreed to accept representation of Plaintiff. Left with what appeared to be no option, she agreed to do so. But no continuance, and the trial was only weeks away.

The Negligence Resulting in the Exclusion of Robert Adams and the Forced Settlement.

46. The depositions of Farmer and Plaintiff occurred, finally, on September 16, 2016 (a Friday night). The parties then attended a second mediation that Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., which also resulted in an impasse. Nevertheless, the Ramos Defendants continued to try to push a settlement contending that Plaintiff was not ready for trial to start the next day, which is clearly not her responsibility.

47. The following day, September 19, 2016, the trial was supposed to start, in theory.

Plaintiff showed up ready for trial and the Ramos Defendants immediately started pressuring her to settle. That same morning, Farmer’s counsel filed a Motion to Exclude Robert Adams, Plaintiff’s financial expert witness.

Without proper notice of a hearing, and without an opportunity to respond, Ramos went ahead with the hearing to exclude Adams. Not only did he fail to seek time to respond, Ramos apparently made the decision to go forward with the hearing without even requesting an opportunity for Adams to provide testimony to support his calculations, which is necessary to defending such a motion.

The hearing resulted in the exclusion of Plaintiff’s only expert witness due to claimed insufficiency in his methodology; this should have been defended by Ramos calling on the expert witness to provide testimony to the court to establish the support for same. Adams was in attendance and prepared to testify but Ramos did not call him to the stand to make any sort of offer of proof.

48. After that, the parties took a break for lunch when Plaintiff finally was able to receive the multiple calls from her nephew that she had missed during the morning session. Plaintiff’s nephew advised her that Plaintiff’s sister, who had been successfully undergoing cancer treatments, had taken a turn for the worse and was expected to die literally any minute.

Plaintiff begged her counsel to seek a brief continuance, but the Ramos Defendants refused to request a continuance. Plaintiff, while in tears and fearing the imminent and immediate death of her sister, and now on the news of her only expert witness being excluded from the trial of the case, was pulled aside by Ramos who told her that she was out of options, and was going to lose the trial, concluding that she had no option left but to settle.

Miraculously, Ramos had a “settlement proposal” that he “worked out” with his opposing counsel (and close friend), Newman.

Ramos did not read over the settlement with client nor advise her of the details. In order to coerce her to agree, he told her that the “alimony” that she would be getting would not be awarded by the Court unless by agreement. What Ramos failed to tell Plaintiff was that the “alimony” she would be getting was not really alimony, but Plaintiff’s share of one of their community property assets.

Ramos also failed to tell Plaintiff was that she was getting virtually nothing else. Ramos continued to badger her and impress on her that she had no option until Plaintiff finally broke.

49. The Ramos Defendants had subpoenaed only one witness (Farmer’s dad, who is also a lawyer) to testify at the trial, leaving Plaintiff with another huge disadvantage. The settlement was announced on the record that day, and Ramos finally allowed Plaintiff to leave so she could see her sister before she passed.

Plaintiff’s sister died two days later.

To add insult to injury, the final Decree of Divorce, which was later entered, did not reflect the agreements that had been entered and announced on the record in some major respects. All of the discrepancies were to Plaintiff’s detriment and to Farmer’s benefit.

To her counsel’s dismay, Plaintiff refused to sign the decree and instructed her counsel not to sign it or agree to its entry.

More Extraordinary Violations of the Standard of Care

50. If these actions were not bad enough, the Allshouse Defendants, as noted earlier, intervened in the divorce seeking an additional $30,000 in fees. At a subsequent hearing, Ramos repeatedly told Plaintiff that she had to agree to pay the additional fees requested by the Allshouse
Defendants.

Believing she had no option, and without any support from her counsel, she was forced to agree to pay additional attorneys’ fees to the Allshouse Defendants, who, remember, the Ramos Defendants repeatedly criticized for not doing “anything” on Plaintiff’s case. But the Ramos Defendants failed to assert malpractice claims (or any other defense) against the Allshouse Defendants.

The Ramos Defendants simply folded, leaving Plaintiff without any legitimate assistance.

51. By this point, Plaintiff had paid significant six-figure fees to the Allshouse Defendants, and another $50,000 out of her separate property retirement account to the Ramos Defendants; fees that totaled more cash than Plaintiff even received in the divorce.

52. Nevertheless, following undue pressure from the Ramos Defendants, Plaintiff’s oral agreement to settle the Allshouse Defendants’ petition in intervention for attorneys’ fees was announced on the record in open court. The Allshouse Defendants, however, impermissibly overreached by submitting a proposed “Final Judgment” that did not comport with their agreement.

The Ramos Defendants, per usual, failed object to the proposed order, failed to request a hearing, and otherwise failed to take any steps to protect Plaintiff.

53. Plaintiff spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for representation in the divorce but in exchange had received little-to-no actual work or effort from her counsel on her behalf, virtually nothing done to advance her case, and a final divorce decree that was even more detrimental to her than the bogus agreement that she was forced to sign under duress on the date of what was supposed to be her trial.

54. Neither the Allshouse Defendants nor the Ramos Defendants made even a cursory effort at establishing the true value of this community estate, which Farmer estimated was essentially valueless, even though he had been drawing a seven-figure salary for the bulk, if not all, of the couple’s marriage.

They also failed to investigate or conduct any discovery with respect to the fraudulent financial records produced by I.C.S., INC. Additionally, ineffective assistance of counsel resulted in essentially the abandonment of her claims for the hundreds of thousands of dollars Farmer spent on philandering, and the diversion of assets and/or compensation to the tune of over $1,000,000 (as estimated by Adams) and who knows what else.

The Ramos Defendants never even made an accounting for the fees they were paid.

55. Plaintiff has now incurred additional attorneys’ fees to engage counsel to pursue whatever remaining remedies she has.

IX. FACTUAL BACKGROUND – I.C.S., INC.

56. Farmer has been a director and owner of I.C.S., INC. at all material times to the divorce and this lawsuit. During the course of the divorce, however, I.C.S., INC. voluntarily produced a number of financial documents that fraudulently concealed the true value of their estate. In an apparent effort to hide Farmer’s income, and to divert money away from his community estate, I.C.S., INC. misrepresented the amount of compensation Farmer was receiving during the divorce, as well as I.C.S., INC..’s total revenue and net worth.

57. For example, although I.C.S., INC. was generating roughly $60,000,000 to $70,000,000 in revenue every year, and with overall revenue climbing in each of the four years preceding the Divorce, I.C.S., INC. only reported net profits of roughly $250,000-$500,000 per year. I.C.S., INC. intentionally misrepresented its profits to defraud Plaintiff and benefit Farmer, knowing that I.C.S., INC…’s value would play a significant role in the division of assets related to the divorce.

58. I.C.S., INC. also grossly underrepresented the amount of compensation Farmer was receiving, with his annual salary purportedly plummeting in the year of the divorce. I.C.S., INC. went to great lengths to create and produce records with false and misleading information, intending that Plaintiff rely on that information to her detriment and Farmer’s benefit.

59. I.C.S., INC. routinely diverted money to Farmer which was never documented or otherwise accounted for in I.C.S., INC..’s financial records. For example, Farmer regularly sold scrap inventory for cash which I.C.S., INC. allowed him to keep rather than reporting as business revenue. Farmer also generated false invoices which he would “pay” on behalf of I.C.S., INC. and which I.C.S., INC. would then “reimburse.” Farmer kept the money from these fictitious reimbursements without ever disclosing it as income to Plaintiff.

60. During his marriage to Plaintiff, Farmer also lent roughly $800,000 to I.C.S., INC. which was never repaid to the community estate and, shockingly, does not appear anywhere in the financial records I.C.S., INC. produced to Plaintiff. Presumably, either I.C.S., INC. repaid the loan to Farmer directly, or still carries it as a business debt. Either way, I.C.S., INC..’s failure to accurately report and disclose the loan deprived Plaintiff her share of the community-property asset during the divorce.

61. Relying on I.C.S., INC.’s false and misleading representations, Plaintiff was induced to enter into a mediated settlement agreement in which she agreed to accept drastically less that she would have had I.C.S., INC. and Farmer provided accurate financial and compensation information. Because of I.C.S., INC.’s fraudulent and deceptive acts and omissions, Plaintiff has suffered significant damages she now seeks to recover.

X. CAUSES OF ACTION AGAINST MALPRACTICE DEFENDANTS

A. NEGLIGENCE/MALPRACTICE

62. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

63. This is a civil liability case in which it has become necessary for Plaintiff to bring a lawsuit by reason of the profound neglect suffered by Cindy Garza-Farmer while represented by Malpractice Defendants, which resulted in significant damages. Ms. Garza-Farmer’s injuries and/or damages were proximately caused by the acts of negligence of Malpractice Defendants or their agents or employees acting in the course and scope of their employment.

64. Malpractice Defendants agreed to, and undertook, legal representation of Cindy Garza-Farmer in her divorce. In so doing, Malpractice Defendants owed Ms. Garza-Farmer a legal duty to exercise a degree of care, skill and diligence as lawyers of ordinary skill and knowledge commonly possess and exercise in the same or similar region.

65. Plaintiff will show this Court that Malpractice Defendants, by and through themselves and/or their employees and agents, violated these fundamental laws, engaging in a pattern and practice of neglect and conduct prohibited by law. More specifically, Malpractice Defendants engaged in negligent conduct which included:

(a) Failing to provide proper and complete disclosures to Plaintiff;

(b) Failing to adequately pursue appropriate and necessary discovery, including discovery related to Farmer’s compensation as a director of I.C.S., INC.;

(c) Failing to advise their client of claims she may have against proper third parties;

(d) Failing to properly manage and prepare expert witnesses;

(e) Placing their interests ahead of their client’s interests;

(f) Overburdening the community estate;

(g) Causing the incurrence of unnecessary fees;

(h) Failing to appropriately advise their client of remedies;

(i) Making strategically poor decisions;

(j) Failing to monitor expert witnesses;

(k) Failing to adequately advise their client including, but not limited to, misrepresenting the law to their client in order to procure settlement;

(l) Unnecessary billing and overbilling;

(m) Failing to charge fees that are reasonable, necessary and customary for the region;

(n) Failing to pursue claims of value;

(o) Failing to adequately respond to critical motions;

(p) Failing to adequately pursue continuance options;

(q) Failing to provide adequate representation;

(r) Causing Plaintiff to have to hire additional counsel;

(s) Failing to adequately account for and value community assets and/or apprise their client of the true value of her marital estate;

(t) Failing to apprise their client of more appropriate, stronger and more cost-effective legal remedies;

(u) Failing to adequately inform the Court of financial misdeeds by Plaintiff’s husband, including, but not limited to, diversion of assets, voluntary massive reduction in salary and related actions;

(v) Failing to preserve error for appeal;

(w) Allowing a judgment to be entered against Plaintiff, which was neither required, or agreed to by Plaintiff;

(x) Allowing a receiver to be appointed over Plaintiff’s estate; and

(y) Causing the expenditure of fees and expenses Plaintiff should not be required to expend.

66. Malpractice Defendants knew or should have known from their experience as licensed attorney(s) and/or a law firm engaging in the business of providing legal services, that these acts or omissions posed a serious risk of damage to Plaintiff.

67. Malpractice Defendants’ conduct was not occasional or fortuitous, but rather was the natural and predictable result of the decisions made by Malpractice Defendants to maximize revenues and profits.

68. Each and all of the aforementioned acts, both omission and commission, as well as those yet to be discovered, constitute negligence and were a direct and proximate cause of the incident made the basis of this suit and Plaintiff’s injuries and/or damages.

B. JOINT AND SEVERAL RESPONSIBILITY

69. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

70. The negligence of Malpractice Defendants, operating separately and concurrently, was a proximate cause of the injuries to Plaintiff and the damages more specifically set forth below. Accordingly, Malpractice Defendants are jointly and severally responsible for injuries to Plaintiff.

C. GROSS NEGLIGENCE AND MALICE

71. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

72. The wrongful conduct specifically alleged hereinabove also constitutes gross negligence and malice as such terms are defined by law. By reason of such conduct, Plaintiff is entitled and therefore assert a claim for punitive or exemplary damages in an amount sufficient to punish and deter Malpractice Defendants and others like them from such conduct in the future.

73. These acts or omissions were the acts or omissions of Malpractice Defendants themselves, and not simply the acts or omissions of Malpractice Defendants’ lower level employees. Additionally, or in the alternative, the conduct complained of was:

(a) authorized by Malpractice Defendants;

(b) the conduct of employees Malpractice Defendants employed in a managerial capacity who were acting in the scope of that capacity;

(c) the conduct of unfit employees that Malpractice Defendants recklessly employed; or

(d) ratified by an employee or manager of Malpractice Defendants.

74. Additionally, or in the alternative, the conduct complained of was by a vice- principal of Malpractice Defendants or was conduct that breached non-delegable duties of Malpractice Defendants.

D. BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY

75. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

76. Pleading in the alternative, if necessary, as Malpractice Defendants were legal counsel who undertook representation of Plaintiff, a relationship of trust and confidence existed requiring Malpractice Defendants to act in Plaintiff’s best interest as a matter of law. Malpractice Defendants did not act fairly and equitably in the transactions at issue in this matter.

They made unreasonable use of the confidence that Plaintiff placed in them. They failed to act in the utmost good faith and failed to exercise the most scrupulous honesty toward Plaintiff. Malpractice Defendants placed their own interests before the interests of Plaintiff and used the advantage of their position to gain benefit for themselves at the expense of Plaintiff and failed to fully and fairly disclose all important information about the transactions at issue in this case to Plaintiff.

In causing injury to Plaintiff, Malpractice Defendants flagrantly violated their fiduciary relationship by the following breaches including, but not limited to:

(a) Charging fees in excess of the work performed;

(b) Charging excessive time on matters involved in the representation or failing to adequately disclose fees;

(c) Billing for work that was unnecessary, or which was never performed;

(d) Taking postures in the representation that caused the detriment or harm to plaintiff’s case;

(e) Failing to pursue discovery;

(f) Failing to oversee expert witnesses;

(g) Intentionally causing delays and/or intentionally derailing efforts to obtain a continuance to provide for adequate time to cure other failures;

(h) Making false representations of the law to the client;

(i) Failing to make adequate disclosures to the client;

(j) Failing to pursue claims of value;

(k) Refusing to perform work directed or requested by the client that was also necessary to plaintiff’s claims;

(l) Failing to oversee staff activities; and/or

(m) Violating Texas Disciplinary and/or Ethical Rules.

77. Malpractice Defendants’ violations caused damage or injury to Plaintiff or, in the alternative, Plaintiff is relieved of any legal burden to establish the existence of damages due to Malpractice Defendants’ breach(es) of their fiduciary duty to Plaintiff.

78. Pleading in the alternative, if such is necessary, Malpractice Defendants are or should be required to forfeit fees charged by them and/or incurred by Plaintiff as a result of the failures by Malpractice Defendants and the breaches of the fiduciary duties owed by Malpractice Defendants, which are clear and serious violation(s) considering the nature of the wrong committed by Malpractice Defendants; the character of Malpractice Defendants’ conduct; the degree of wrongdoing in that Malpractice Defendants’ conduct was intentional, willful, reckless, malicious or with gross negligence; the situation and sensibilities of all parties including any threatened or actual harm to the client; the extent to which Malpractice Defendants’ conduct offends a public sense of justice and propriety; and the adequacy of other remedies and the public’s interest in maintaining the integrity of attorney-client relationships.

E. FRAUD

79. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

80. Pleading in the alternative, if necessary, Malpractice Defendants committed fraud.

Malpractice Defendants made material misrepresentations that were made with knowledge of their falsity or recklessly without any knowledge of the truth as a positive assertion, with the intention that they should be acted on by Plaintiff, and such misrepresentations were relied upon by Plaintiff.

81. Pleading in the alternative, if necessary, Malpractice Defendants committed fraud by failing to disclose a material fact within the knowledge of Malpractice Defendants, Malpractice Defendants knew that Plaintiff did not know such material facts and did not have an equal opportunity to discover the truth, with intention to induce Plaintiff to take some action by failing to disclose such facts, and Plaintiff suffered injury as a result of acting without knowledge of the undisclosed fact(s).

All such fraudulent actions were made by Malpractice Defendants who were, or who purported to have, special knowledge, that is, knowledge or information superior to Plaintiff and to which Plaintiff did not have equal access.

82. Malpractice Defendants’ fraudulent actions include, but are not limited to:

(a) Charging fees in excess of the work performed;

(b) Failing to make adequate disclosures to the client;

(c) Billing for work that was unnecessary, or which was never performed;

(d) Taking postures in the representation that caused the detriment or harm to plaintiff’s case;

(e) Intentionally steering the case to results beneficial to the lawyers, but not their clients;

(f) Intentionally causing delays and/or pursue continuance remedies;

(g) Failing to pursue discovery that would likely have resulted in a higher recovery by the client;

(h) Intentionally derailing efforts that would have benefitted the client;

(i) Making false representations of the law to the client in order to induce her into settlement;

(j) Failing to bill reasonably and consistently with similar services for the region;

(k) Making false representations regarding the quality of services that would be provided; and/or

(l) Making false representations about the level of ethics., INC../integrity that would be followed by Malpractice Defendants in their representation.

83. Malpractice Defendants’ fraudulent actions caused damages to Plaintiff for which she seeks recovery herein in all forms of damages to which she is entitled.

XI. CAUSES OF ACTION AGAINST I.C.S., INC.

A. FRAUD

84. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

85. I.C.S., INC. committed fraud against Plaintiff in connection with the divorce.

I.C.S., INC. made material misrepresentations that were made with knowledge of their falsity or recklessly without any knowledge of the truth as a positive assertion, with the intention that they should be acted on by Plaintiff, and such misrepresentations were relied upon by Plaintiff.
86. I.C.S., INC…’s fraudulent actions include, but are not limited to:

(a) Misrepresenting revenue;

(b) Misrepresenting profit margins;

(c) Misrepresenting officer/employee compensation;

(d) Failing to disclose officer/employee compensation;

(e) Creating false invoices; and

(f) Failing to disclose intercompany loans.

87. I.C.S., INC…’s fraudulent actions caused damages to Plaintiff for which she seeks recovery herein in all forms of damages to which she is entitled.

B. FRAUD BY NONDISCLOSURE

88. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

89. I.C.S., INC. concealed and/or failed to disclose material facts related to its business finances. I.C.S., INC. had a duty to disclose the information to Plaintiff because:

(a) I.C.S., INC. voluntarily disclosed some of the information to Plaintiff;

(b) I.C.S., INC. partially disclosed the information to Plaintiff, which created a substantially false impression; and/or

(c) The information was new and made I.C.S., INC…’s earlier representation to Plaintiff false or misleading.

90. The information was material, as it related directly to the marital property at issue in Plaintiff’s divorce. I.C.S., INC. knew that Plaintiff was ignorant of the information and did not have an equal opportunity to discover the truth. I.C.S., INC. deliberately remained silent and did not disclose the information to Plaintiff.

By deliberately remaining silent, I.C.S., INC. intended for Plaintiff to act without the information. Plaintiff justifiably relied on I.C.S., INC…’s deliberate silence by negotiating the terms of her divorce and division of marital property based on the incomplete information I.C.S., INC. produced.

91. I.C.S., INC…’s fraudulent actions proximately caused injuries to Plaintiff for which she seeks recovery herein in all forms of damages to which she is entitled.

THE RAMOS DIVORCE, BOTH LAWYERS AND BOTH FORMER ASSOC. JUDGES

C. FRAUDULENT INDUCEMENT

92. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

93. I.C.S., INC. fraudulently induced Plaintiff to enter into a divorce settlement agreement based on its misrepresentations. I.C.S., INC. made material misrepresentations with knowledge of their falsity or recklessly without any knowledge of the truth as a positive assertion, with the intention that they should induce Plaintiff to enter into a contract, and such misrepresentations were relied upon by Plaintiff.

94. I.C.S., INC…’s fraudulent actions include:

(a) Misrepresenting revenue;

(b) Misrepresenting profit margin;

(c) Misrepresenting officer/employee compensation;

(d) Failing to disclose officer/employee compensation;

(e) Creating false invoices; and

(f) Failing to disclose intercompany loans.

95. I.C.S., INC…’s fraudulent actions proximately caused injuries to Plaintiff for which she seeks recovery herein in all forms of damages to which she is entitled.

D. VIOLATIONS OF THE TEXAS UNIFORM FRAUDULENT TRANSFER ACT

96. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

97. I.C.S., INC. violated the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act by making one or more transfers that were fraudulent as to Plaintiff. I.C.S., INC. made the transfers with the actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud Plaintiff.

98. I.C.S., INC…’s fraudulent transfers include, but are not limited to:

(a) Taking a six-figure loan of Plaintiff’s community property money from Farmer that was never repaid;

(b) Reimbursing Farmer for fictitious invoices generated for the purpose of diverting income away from his community estate; and

(c) Allowing Farmer to sell scrap inventory for cash and keep the profits personally, rather than reporting them as revenue for I.C.S., INC….

99. I.C.S., INC…’s fraudulent transfers proximately caused injuries to Plaintiff for which she seeks recovery herein in all forms of damages to which she is entitled.

E. NEGLIGENCE/NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION

100. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

101. I.C.S., INC. undertook a duty to produce accurate and complete financial information to Plaintiff during the course of her divorce.

102. I.C.S., INC. breached its duty by failing to provide accurate and complete information, which was relied upon by Plaintiff to her detriment. More specifically, I.C.S., INC. engaged in negligent conduct that included:

(a) Failing to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles;

(b) Failing to provide proper and accurate and complete financial information;

(c) Creating and producing fictitious financial documents;

(d) Misrepresenting revenue, profit margins, and employee/officer compensation;

(e) Failing to disclose revenue, profit margins; and employee/officer compensation; and

(f) Failing to disclose intercompany loans.

103. I.C.S., INC. knew or should have known that these acts or omissions posed a serious risk of damage to Plaintiff.

104. Each and all of the aforementioned acts, both omission and commission, as well as those yet to be discovered, constitute negligence and were a direct and proximate cause of the Plaintiff’s injuries and/or damages.

F. GROSS NEGLIGENCE

105. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

106. The wrongful conduct specifically alleged hereinabove also constitutes gross negligence and malice as such terms are defined by law. By reason of such conduct, Plaintiff is entitled and therefore asserts a claim for punitive or exemplary damages in an amount sufficient to punish and deter I.C.S., INC. and others like it from such conduct in the future.

107. These acts or omissions were the acts or omissions of I.C.S., INC. itself, and not simply the acts or omissions of I.C.S., INC…’s lower level employees. Additionally, or in the

alternative, the conduct complained of was:

(a) authorized by I.C.S., INC.;

(b) the conduct of employees that I.C.S., INC. employed in a managerial capacity who were acting in the scope of that capacity;

(c) the conduct of unfit employees that I.C.S., INC. recklessly employed; or

(d) ratified by an employee or manager of I.C.S., INC….

108. Additionally, or in the alternative, the conduct complained of was by a vice- principal of I.C.S., INC. or was conduct that breached non-delegable duties of I.C.S., INC….

G. CONSPIRACY

109. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

110. I.C.S., INC. engaged in a civil conspiracy with Farmer to commit fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Together, I.C.S., INC. and its co-conspirator Farmer agreed to defraud Plaintiff by providing her with false, incomplete, or misleading documents purporting to contain accurate and complete financial information regarding I.C.S., INC. ’s business financials. I.C.S., INC. and Farmer acted with the intent to harm Plaintiff. The agreement to defraud Plaintiff proximately caused injury to Plaintiff.

H. ASSISTING AND ENCOURAGING

111. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

112. I.C.S., INC. substantially assisted Farmer in committing fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. By agreeing to produce its financial information to Plaintiff, I.C.S., INC. undertook a duty to produce true and complete information. I.C.S., INC…’s assistance and participation—separate from Farmer’s acts—breached I.C.S., INC. ’s duty to Plaintiff by causing her to rely on false or incomplete financial information when

negotiating her marital property distribution with Farmer. I.C.S., INC…’s assistance and participation were a substantial factor in causing Farmer’s torts against Plaintiff.

XII. RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR

113. All employees of Defendants were, at all material times, acting within the direction, course, and scope of their employment. Accordingly, Defendants are also liable for Plaintiff’s injuries under the doctrine of respondeat superior, vicarious liability, and applicable theories of agent/servant liability.

XIII. DAMAGES

114. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

115. Plaintiff hereby seeks recovery of all available damages to which she is or may be entitled for any cause of action or remedy she has pled or that may be asserted in any future pleading.

116. Plaintiff further seeks to recover pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest for all damages and reserve the right to amend and state further the amount of their actual damages.

XIV. PUNITIVE DAMAGES

117. The preceding paragraphs are incorporated herein for all purposes.

118. Plaintiff seeks punitive damages in an amount commensurate with: (a) the nature of the wrongs committed by Defendants; (b) the inhumane character of Defendants’ course of conduct; (c) the degree of culpability of the wrongdoers herein; (d) the dependent nature of the victim in this case; and (e) the nature and degree to which the conduct described hereinabove offends the public sense of justice. Defendants’ conduct alleged hereinabove justifies an award of exemplary damages in an amount sufficient to deter Defendants from engaging in this conduct in the future.

XV. PRE-JUDGMENT AND POST-JUDGMENT INTEREST

119. Plaintiff seeks pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest rate provided by law.

XVI. RESERVATION OF RIGHTS

120. Plaintiff reserves the right to prove the amount of damages at trial. Plaintiff reserves the right to amend their Petition and add additional counts and/or parties as discovery continues.

XVII. CONDITIONS PRECEDENT

121. Pursuant to Rule 54 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, all conditions precedent to Plaintiff’s rights to recover and Defendants’ liability have been performed or have occurred.

XVIII. JURY DEMAND

122. Plaintiff demands a trial by jury on all issues set forth herein and has previously tendered the applicable fee.

XIX. REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE

123. Pursuant to TEX. R. CIV. P. 194 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Defendants are requested to disclose, within 50 days of service of this request, the information or material described in TEX. R. CIV. P. 194.2 (a) through (l).

LAWYER JEFF DIAMANT

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff prays that citations be issued and served upon I.C.S., INC…, commanding I.C.S., INC. to appear and answer. Plaintiff further prays that upon final hearing of this cause, that Plaintiff have a judgment against Defendants in an amount to be determined by the Court and Jury, for all damages, plus pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest, costs of Court, and for such other and further relief, at law or in equity, both general and special, to which Plaintiff may show themselves justly entitled. Plaintiff also prays for actual, exemplary and punitive damages in an amount that exceeds the minimum jurisdictional limits of the Court.

Respectfully submitted,

JEFF DIAMANT, P.C.

State Bar No. 00795319
Thomas “Tal” DeBauche
State Bar No. 24092331
909 Fannin St.,
25th Floor Houston,
Texas 77010
Phone: (713) 789-0111
Fax: (888) 798-0111
Email: service@jeffdiamantlaw.com

Attorneys for Plaintiff Cindy Garza-Farmer

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I certify that on December 19, 2019, a true and correct copy of the foregoing document was served on all counsel of record in accordance with Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 21a.

Jeff Diamant

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