On December 19, 2014, a Grand Jury in Tarrant County issued two indictments for misuse of government records in a Barratry case related to a lawsuit filed by Dallas attorney, Tom Carse. The lawsuit, filed against lawyers, law firm staff and others, alleges that accident victims were illegally solicited through use of inside information.
The indictment charges Tommie Baysmore, a former employee of the Arlington Police Department records division, and another man, Abraham “AJ” Small, a runner, with third degree felonies for misuse of government records. Small was a runner who sometimes went door-to-door soliciting accident victims based on knowledge obtained through inside information such police crash reports obtained illegally. The practice is a violation of the state’s Barratry laws, which led to the filing of a lawsuit.
According to court documents, the daughters of Miguel and Maria Morales were involved in an auto accident. Soon after the accident, Small left a left a voice message on the Morales home answering machine, while another runner left a note on the front door of the Morales home, asking the family to contact them. The information known to the AJ the runner indicated that he had details only known to those involved in the car wreck and the Arlington Police Department. Carse, who represents the Morales family, filed a civil case under Texas Barratry law and Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) seeking a $10,000 civil penalty against each defendant, treble damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.
Texas Barratry Laws
In Texas, an attorney is guilty of Barratry if they attempt to obtain professional employment by knowingly permitting a written communication to be sent to someone who has not sought their legal representation or advice before the 31st day after an accident occurs. An attorney may not solicit clients using offers of any type of value or solicit those who an attorney has reason to believe has already obtained legal counsel.
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and an attorney has offered you money, gifts or other items of value in exchange for representing you in a lawsuit, you may have a Barratry claim against the attorney. Contact the Carse Law Firm today for a free, no obligation consultation to learn what rights you may have under federal and state laws designed to protect you from unscrupulous attorneys.