The former employees of an Alabama-based law firm who are accused of stealing confidential client information filed a counterclaim Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Zeke Roeser and Morgan Whitlock accused their former boss of misleading clients, defamation, tortious interference and breach of contract. The duo’s former employer, Mike Slocumb of The Slocumb Law Firm, filed suit in October, alleging that Roeser and Whitlock stole confidential client information. The two were formerly employed by Slocumb in his personal injury firm’s Washington office before they formed their own firm, Roeser & Whitlock, on Oct. 7.
According to the counterclaim (PDF), Slocumb and his employees contacted clients who chose to be represented by Roeser & Whitlock, in an attempt to convince them to let Slocumb represent them. Among the alleged improper statements disseminated by Slocumb were that Roeser and Whitlock were fired from their former firm, that they acted illegally and unethically and that they were poor and inexperienced attorneys. Slocumb Law also allegedly told clients that if they decided to be represented by Roeser and Whitlock that their cases would be delayed and they would be unable to obtain speedy settlements.
Roeser and Whitlock are seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Slocumb and the firm in addition to attorneys fees.
Roeser and Whitlock’s attorney, Robert Salerno, a partner with Morrison & Foerster, did not reply to a request for comment. But Slocumb’s attorney, Rodney Sweetland III, a partner with McKool Smith, said that the allegations would be unraveled during the discovery phase.
"Roeser & Whitlock is apparently dragging the very clients that it took from The Slocumb Law Firm into this case as a stratagem to make the case more difficult to litigate,” Sweetland said in a statement. “I believe that will inure to the detriment of those clients, as well as ultimately to Roeser & Whitlock itself. Substantively, these are spurious allegations that will not survive scrutiny during discovery."