Crowell & Moring filed suit against the District on Monday, accusing the D.C. government of breach of contract for failure to pay more than $300,000 in legal fees.
According to the complaint, filed in D.C. Superior Court, Crowell & Moring was hired by the D.C. government in 2001 to represent the D.C. Public Schools in an employment dispute with several teachers. In 2002, the District expanded its agreement with the firm to include representation in additional employment disputes and in Petties v. District of Columbia, et al., a prisoner class action filed in the U.S. District Court in 1995.
The complaint says the relationship between the firm and the District went smoothly through the end of 2005, with the Office of General Counsel even complimenting the firm’s work. But in early 2006, the Office of General Counsel allegedly failed to pay for work done by Crowell & Moring during the first three months of that year, although it continued to approve the firm’s invoices.
The complaint says the total of the unpaid invoices is $320,204.
George Valentine, deputy attorney general in the Civil Litigation Division of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, said he had not received the complaint yet, so he was not willing to comment on the lawsuit.
Laurel Malson, a partner at Crowell working on the lawsuit, also declined to comment.