Williams Lea Sues Heller Ehrman

Well folks, that was a short break and so much for not reporting on developments during what is normally a quiet week.

It appears that on December 18, 2008, Williams Lea has filed a complaint against Heller Ehrman LLP claiming, among other things, unpaid invoices totaling $2.2 million.

The complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, can be found here.

One interesting and disturbing note is that Williams Lea is claiming over $373,000 in severance packages for Williams Lea employees.  Perhaps this is part of Heller Ehrman’s contract (the original or the one renegotiated after the dissolution vote on September 26, 2008).

None the less, and nothing against the great staff at Williams Lea, but I’ll be damned if non-Heller people get severance when ex-Hellerites are still waiting for accrued vacation, waiting time penalties (in California) and WARN Act monies.

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11 Responses to “Williams Lea Sues Heller Ehrman”


  1. 1 P-Owed 22 December 2008 at 5:04 pm

    So…barring a sudden collection of 100% of the outstanding A/R, is bankruptcy now inevitable?
    Williams Lea should sue to get what they are owed but now it becomes a race to the pot (such as it is) after the banks are paid off, which, according to the dissolution committee, should be by year end. Bankruptcy may provide a more orderly and transparent process for everyone involved but at the end of the day, all the creditors need for Heller’s ex-clients to pay their bills to the firm/estate.
    Can a bk judge/trustee order these ex-clients to pay up?

  2. 2 LongTimeHellerFirstTimeCaller 22 December 2008 at 10:51 pm

    All Hail Phyllis Gardner, Queen of Outsourcing. What a great asset she was.

  3. 3 Former Associate 23 December 2008 at 12:02 am

    I don’t think this lawsuit gets us any closer to BK than we were before. If the landlord lawsuits didn’t do it — and rumor has it that at least one of them has settled — then this one won’ either.

  4. 4 legalese_retard 23 December 2008 at 11:10 am

    What no life-raft to the SS Thacher Proffitt?

    http://abovethelaw.com/2008/12/anatomy_of_a_dissolution_closi.php

  5. 5 Thomas MacEntee 23 December 2008 at 11:30 am

    legalese_retard

    No life raft. For support staff at Heller, Thelen and Thacher there was never really a life raft – just bullshit promises such as WARN Act monies later retracted. This is how it is for loyal staff these days. I don’t expect 2009 to get much better.

  6. 6 My Guess 23 December 2008 at 1:28 pm

    So I have a question: Former Associate states “rumor has it that at least one of them has settled”. If the DC is settling claims outside of BK this money is gone forever – right? So in theory the DC/bank is acting as its own BK court in prioritizing claims; and what they are doing is paying out claims of a lower legal priority. I fail to see how pushing Heller into BK hurts if what former associate says is correct.

  7. 7 Another Former Associate 24 December 2008 at 3:28 am

    @My Guess: Go and look at my comments on the landlord suit and the attachment order there. That attachment lien, and the possibility of reducing the landlord’s claim to one year’s rent via the bankruptcy code, are now the key drivers of events.

    The other key fact — and I have no idea what the status is — is the amount of money left over after the secured banks are paid out.

  8. 8 P-Owed 24 December 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Once the banks are paid off (which according to them is this month), it will be a mad rush to the remaining money.
    I would think Heller’s ex-clients will hold onto their cash for as long as they can, or at least until they are legally compelled to pay or until they work out a settlement with the dissolution committee.

    If there isn’t enough money left, what other options do the ex-employees have?

  9. 9 hellerclerk 24 December 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Blunt force?

  10. 10 How? 24 December 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Former associate says there is a rumor that a former landlord settled with HEWM. If true, how did this happen? If you believe Sugarman, Hayden, Benvenutti, et al. the banks still control the firm’s cash. So if there was a settlement, does it not mean that the banks must have approved the settlement payment? That seems screwy…

  11. 11 Another Former Associate 25 December 2008 at 5:15 am

    @How: Not clear that Former Associate’s rumor is true.
    If it did happen, there would have had to be some logistics arrangements betwen HEWM, the landlord, and B of A. Either the landlord couldn’t have been paid a settlement amount right away, or B of A would have had to agree to let HEWM settle a landlord claim for a discounted amount and make the settlement payment because B of A is nearly paid out and has the end in sight for it.

    Too little detail has been provided in this thread to convince me that any landlord settlement has taken place. Certainly, it wasn’t the 333 Bush landlord (which just got an attachment order last week).

    If anyone has some real info on the status of various landlord claims, please pass it along.


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