Claiming she and her law partner can no longer continue working together, Indianapolis attorney Kathleen Farinas is asking the Marion County Commercial Court to dissolve George & Farinas LLP, appoint a receiver and enter damages against Linda George.
Farinas filed a complaint Jan. 29, detailing the breakdown of the law firm that was formed in 2011. As a member of the plaintiffs’ bar, George & Farinas has represented clients in lawsuits over mesothelioma, asbestos cancers, defective medical devices, personal injuries and wrongful death.
According to the lawsuit, Linda George retired in March 2019, but she and Farinas have been unable to reach an agreement on the terms of a buy-out of George’s partnership interests. The two lawyers have been unable to come to consensus and are now at an impasse that makes continuing the partnership no longer feasible.
Farinas is asking the court to judicially dissolve George & Farinas LLP and fix an hourly rate of her service in winding down the business. The lawsuit states George is “neither competent nor capable enough” to conduct the wind down of the firm.
Also, the court is being asked to appoint a receiver whose function will be able to provide an accounting of the business and help with the firm’s closure by doing such tasks as distributing the assets and any shares of profits.
Finally, if George does not agree to a settlement of the differences, Farinas wants the court to enter damages against George for breaches of fiduciary duties and contractual obligations.
The complaint alleges George failed to do productive legal work that generated revenue for the firm, interfered with the operations of the firm, and sent “degrading hostile, argumentative, and demeaning communications” to Farinas, the firm’s staff and outside accountants. Also, the lawsuit states George involved the law firm in an “unnecessarily complicated accounting scheme for which there is no commercially-justified purpose … which solely benefitted Linda by allowing her to avoid reporting income to the (Internal Revenue Service) … .”
When the two attorneys formed their law firm, they agreed to split the profits with 60% going to George and 40% going to Farinas. A few years later, the lawsuit states, George began having the firm pay her rent for the office equipment and furniture and renegotiated the partnership agreement so that she received “additional compensation on certain types of cases that were being washed through the firm for (her) sole benefit.”
The lawsuit asserts in addition to finders’ fees, used equipment rents, pass-through funds and her percentage of the profits, George required guarantee payments totaling $1.5 million.
Also, the complaint indicates George may have violated the Indiana Rules for Admission and Discipline of Attorneys by not being actively engaged in the practice of law since 2016 as a partner in the firm.
Moreover, the lawsuit claims she did not disclose certain income, namely the pass-through funds, on her taxes. While she was the tax matters partner in 2015, the complaint states, George “orchestrated the inappropriate characterization of money flowing” to her through the law firm. There was no business purpose for the “complicated accounting characterization of the Pass Through Funds” George devised.
“Based on certain conduct by Linda and a rift between the only two partners, it is no longer reasonably practicable to carry on the business of George & Farinas, LLP… ,” the lawsuit states.
Farinas is represented by Patrick Olmstead of Patrick Olmstead Law LLC in Greenwood. The court’s docket does not list an attorney for George.
The case is Kathleen A. Farinas, individually and as Partner of George & Farinas, LLP, and George & Farinas, LLP v. Linda George, individual and as Partner of George & Farinas, LLP, 49D01-2101-PL-003265.