Beck Redden Attorneys in Law360: Houston Bar Assoc. Sues to Shutter 'Fictitious' Law Firm
Alistair Dawson and Mary Kate Raffetto Featured
- June 20, 2017
The Houston Bar Association and the Houston Bar Foundation filed a lawsuit Monday against what it told the court was a “fictitious” Houston-based estate planning and probate law firm that has set up a “sham” website to defraud elderly individuals in the United States and Canada.
To accomplish the “nefarious” scheme, Walsh & Padilla PLLC has stolen the identity and images of several actual attorneys and claims to be credentialed by the bar association and the foundation, according to the petition. Additionally, there is no Walsh & Padilla law firm in existence, the address for its Houston offices found on the website are nonexistent and neither the HBF nor the HBA has a member firm by that name, the groups argue in bringing claims for libel, trademark infringement and invasion of privacy by name or likeness.
“In addition the entire website for Walsh & Padilla is a carbon copy of the website for Hayes & Wilson LLP,” the petition reads. “The attorney biographies, articles, resources and other content have been duplicated verbatim. And the design is identical.”
Beck Redden LLP partner Alistair B. Dawson, who represents the HBA and the HBF, told Law360 on Tuesday that 113th District Court Judge Michael Landrum did grant the bar's bid for a temporary restraining order Monday that is supposed to shut down the website immediately, but as of Tuesday the site was still accessible.
“The problem is that the creator of this website is a South African individual and the company hosting the domain is also South African, so we're in the process of sending them the court order and telling them they're obligated to take it down,” he said. “Whether they comply is unknown.”