Houston ‘Hire A Dick’ Attorney Faces Another Six Figure Sanctions Order

By Ezra Amacher | January 26, 2024

For the second time in three months, Houston plaintiffs’ attorney Eric B. Dick has been ordered to reimburse an insurer more than $100,000 for filing a “frivolous, groundless” lawsuit made “solely for the purpose of harassment.”

Galveston County District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves said in a Jan. 23 summary judgment that a lawsuit filed by Dick against Standard Casualty Co. on behalf of plaintiffs Steven and Jacqueline Burns was brought forth in bad faith. Dick and the Dick Law Firm failed to provide any admissible evidence that Standard violated its policy contract to the Burns over damage the plaintiffs alleged they incurred during Winter Storm Uri in 2021, the order states.

“[The] Court finds that there is no evidentiary support for any claim pled by Plaintiffs in this lawsuit and that the lawsuit was groundless and brought for an improper purpose, including to cause unnecessary delay and the needless increase of the cost of litigation,” Neves wrote.

The court awarded Standard $101,671 in attorney’s fees and $12,848.68 in costs against the plaintiffs, Dick and the Dick Law Firm.

The order comes not even two months after a Harris County Civil Court sanctioned Dick $137,000 for acting in bad faith for filing a “frivolous” and “groundless” lawsuit against the same insurer. The court said Dick failed to submit evidence that Standard owed coverage to a plaintiff property owner.

In both cases, Dick named expert witnesses to testify about the loss who were either unaware that they had been named as experts or who had not inspected the alleged damage.

Steven Badger

“Both courts called out Dick’s practice of designating the same experts in every one of his matters without having actually formally retained them in the specific case and asking them to formulate opinions,” said Steven Badger, a partner with the Zelle law firm who has defended insurers against other lawsuits filed by Dick.

Dick did not respond to Insurance Journal’s request for comment.

Ana Nguyen, a licensed public adjuster, was designated as an expert in the Burns lawsuit. Nguyen testified that she had never seen or approved her designation. “As of the date of her disposition, she did not even know what her opinions would be or the basis on which she would rely to support any opinions,” Neves wrote.

Nguyen did not prepare a report, only an excel spreadsheet of damaged items. Nguyen asked the plaintiffs to provide any photographs, but she did not receive them. They could not provide the requested proof of ownership, nor any price paid for any item, the age of the item, or the date required.

Nguyen would not testy under oath that the plaintiffs sustained replacement cost value loss at the amount on her spreadsheet: $544,131.

The court wrote that the counsel’s failure to present evidence to support the claims is evidence that “the lawsuit, from its inception, was frivolous, groundless, and made solely for the purpose of harassment.”

Badger said that the sanctions order illustrates that the mass-lawsuit filing model employed by Dick does not work with first-party claims.

“This requires the policyholder attorney to actually investigate and prove their claims,” Badger said. “Obviously, this is not something Dick is prepared to do with his mass-lawsuit filings.”

Eric Dick

Dick is well-known in the Houston area as an aggressive plaintiffs’ attorney with a history of taking on insurance claims. Dick leans into crude puns in billboard and television advertising with phrases like “Hire a Dick” and “I’ll work long and hard for you.”

Dick told Claims Journal in November that the Harris County sanctions were “100% political.” Dick accused the judge, LaShawn Williams, of weaponizing the justice system because she is a Democrat whereas Dick is a registered Republican.

“This is how these corrupt judges do it,” Dick said. “This is the same way they are doing it with Donald Trump.”

Dick has been accused of violating campaign finance laws in his 2022 run for Harris County treasurer. In September the Texas Elections Commission ordered him to pay a $10,000 civil penalty for failing to report $151,166 in campaign expenditures in his campaign for treasurer.

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