By Anna Louie Sussman
Feb 15 (Reuters) - The 17-lawyer healthcare law firm
Schutjer Bogar has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against a
former employee for moving to a competing firm in South Carolina
and taking with her a major client.
The lawsuit against Kelly Hayes was filed on Jan. 29 in the
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. It
charges Hayes with "redirecting" work from a Schutjer Bogar
client, Kindred Nursing Centers East, to her new firm.
Schutjer Bogar, which specializes in Medicaid reimbursement
for long-term care facilities, is headquartered in Harrisburg,
On Feb. 7, Schutjer Bogar also sued the Georgetown, South
Carolina, law firm Maring & Moody in the same district court
Pennsylvania. It accused the firm, which had been local counsel
for Schutjer Bogar in South Carolina, of "aiding and abetting"
Hayes in taking the work of Kindred Nursing.
Hayes referred questions to her lawyer, David Fitzsimons of
Martson Deardorff Williams Otto Gilroy & Faller, who did not
respond to a request for comment in time for publication. Maring
& Moody did not return repeated calls for comment.
Hayes left Schutjer Bogar for Maring & Moody in September
2011 and has since left to start her own firm, Burgeon Legal
Group in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
A third lawsuit in the matter was filed by Schutjer Bogar in
July 2012. That lawsuit, which is pending in the same court,
charged Kindred Nursing with prematurely terminating its
relationship with Schutjer Bogar in violation of a provision of
a payment agreement over disputed invoices.
Kindred Nursing described Schutjer's billing practices in
court filings as "abusive" and said it had the right to
terminate the relationship at will.
A lawyer for Kindred, William Bundy, said Kindred does not
comment on pending litigation.
The loss of Kindred Nursing as a client has jeopardized
Schutjer Bogar's solvency, partner Chadwick Bogar said. The firm
has offered other clients discounts of 10 percent to 15 percent
if they expedite their payment, he said.
Bogar said the firm plans to file for bankruptcy "within a
few weeks" and had retained bankruptcy attorney Lawrence Frank,
a partner at the Harrisburg firm of Thomas, Long, Niesen &
Kennard, to handle the matter.
The cases are Schutjer Bogar v. Maring & Moody; Schutjer
Bogar v. Kindred Nursing Centers East LLC; Schutjer Bogar v.
Hayes, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of
Pennsylvania, 1:13-CV-00315, 1:12-CV-01446, 1:13-CV-00216.
For Schutjer Bogar: Chadwick Bogar and Bradley Schutjer,
For Maring & Moody: Not immediately available.
For Schutjer Bogar: Kirk Sohonage, Schutjer Bogar LLC.
For Kindred Nursing: William Mundy, Burns White.
For Schutjer Bogar: Jonathan Crist.
For Hayes: David Fitzsimons of Martson Deardorff Williams
Otto Gilroy & Faller.
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