McClenny Moseley & Associates Hit with Class Action Over Allegedly Unlawful Solicitation of Hurricane Damage Claims
Monson v. McClenny Moseley & Associates et al.
Filed: March 14, 2023 ◆§ 4:23-cv-00928
A class action alleges McClenny Moseley & Associates (MMA) and two co-conspirators unlawfully sought out hurricane damage victims to solicit MMA’s legal business.
McClenny Moseley & Associates James McClenny Zach Moseley Tort Network, LLC Velawcity Apex Roofing & Restoration, LLC
A proposed class action accuses McClenny Moseley & Associates (MMA) and two co-conspirators of barratry, claiming that the companies unlawfully sought out hurricane damage victims to solicit MMA’s legal business.
Want to stay in the loop on class actions that matter to you? Sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.
The 31-page lawsuit claims the Houston-based law firm has unlawfully generated business in connection to damages caused by various storms that have devasted Louisiana since 2020, including Hurricane Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida. As part of its schemes, MMA has employed Tort Network LLC, which does business as Velawcity, and Apex Roofing & Restoration LLC to solicit clients via text messages, emails, phone calls and in-person contact without making it clear that the communications are an attorney advertisement, the case contends.
The plaintiff, a Louisiana resident, claims to have received an unsolicited text from Velawcity on July 17 last year stating that she had a hurricane storm damage claim pending and could claim compensation by filling out a form on DisasterClaimHelp.com, which was linked in the message. The suit adds that in other instances, Velawcity directed consumers to HurricaneDamageLawsuit.com.
Per the suit, the text message also contained specific instructions for how the plaintiff should answer a series of questions on the form, which included questions like “Did you have homeowners insurance during the time of the incident?” or “Do you currently have an attorney for this claim?” After adding her contact information and submitting the form, the plaintiff received another text message thanking her for contacting McClenny Moseley & Associates, the case relays.
“At no point in the entire process, either in the first text message or the website, was MMA or any of its attorneys subject to this complaint identified,” the complaint states. “Accordingly, the second text message is false and misleading as at no time did Plaintiff ever contact this law firm or any of its attorneys.”
That same day, an MMA “representative” called the plaintiff and attempted to have her sign an online retention agreement, which the woman did not complete, the complaint says. The plaintiff claims that in the following three weeks, she received from MMA another unsolicited phone call, a voicemail and four identical text messages. For the next 120 days, the woman was inundated with one email per day from Velawcity encouraging her to sign an agreement that would sign her up as a client for MMA, the suit says.
According to the case, MMA paid Velawcity in advance a minimum of $13,938,000 to screen at least 4,628 potential clients on its behalf. In some instances, Velawcity contacted potential clients and pressured them to sign MMA Attorney Employment Contracts without ever indicating that the communications were advertising material for the law firm’s services, the suit contends.
As the case tells it, MMA also employed Apex to solicit its services by approaching property owners throughout southern Louisiana and informing them that their property sustained damage from a storm and needed repair. The Alabama-based roofing contractor would offer to perform the work, assuring property owners that their insurance would cover the cost as long as they paid Apex a $1,000 deductible and signed a work order and an assignment of benefits, neither of which mentioned MMA, the complaint explains.
Although the assignment of benefits granted all legal rights to Apex, including the right to make a claim against the insurer for the property owners, MMA has reached out to thousands of property owners in Louisiana, claiming that it represented them and demanding that it be listed as a payee on any payment or draft made moving forward and that all checks be sent to its headquarters in Houston, the filing says.
“In many cases, upon receiving these checks, MMA would forward the checks to the mortgage holder of the property for endorsement and would deposit the checks into MMA’s IOLTA account – all without informing the property owner that the checks had been issued,” the case reads. “This scheme insured [sic] that MMA would receive an unwarranted and unearned fee and Apex would obtain the balance of the funds issued by the insurance company.”
The suit alleges that when an insurer would not settle a claim with MMA, the law firm has gone so far as to file suit on the property owner’s behalf without their authorization or an engagement letter.
The complaint relays that in October 2022, a federal judge suspended over 1,400 lawsuits filed by MMA on behalf of hurricane damage victims after finding that a large portion of these cases were duplicate filings, filed against insurers who did not issue a policy to the plaintiff or filed on behalf of plaintiffs who had already settled lawsuits.
Moreover, the Louisiana Department of Insurance issued a cease and desist order to MMA and its principals on February 17, 2023 based on evidence that the law firm and Apex “participated in a fraudulent scheme involving fraudulent insurance acts,” the case says. Shortly after, on March 2, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana suspended over 600 Hurricane Ida cases filed by MMA, the filing relays.
According to the suit, MMA was suspended from practicing in the Western District of Louisiana on March 4, 2023 for 90 days.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who was unlawfully solicited by the defendants in connection with potential storm or hurricane damage claims since August 27, 2020.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.
Camp Lejeune residents now have the opportunity to claim compensation for harm suffered from contaminated water.
Read more here: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Claims
Sign Up For
New cases and investigations, settlement deadlines, and news straight to your inbox.
Before commenting, please review our comment policy.