State Rep. Ron Reynolds has been ordered to pay $504,000 in damages for failing to give a grieving mother her share of settlement money from a 2010 lawsuit.
The embattled lawmaker, who is also an attorney, failed to give his former client, Nancy Ann Calloway, her share of a $250,000 settlement from a lawsuit stemming from her 23-year-old daughter’s death in a car crash, a Harris County judge ruled Friday.
After the award was handed down, the 55-year-old flight attendant teared up as she described Reynolds repeatedly putting her off when she asked for money that she had earmarked for a tombstone for her daughter, April Cherisse.
“It’s more pain in a painful situation,” Calloway said. “It’s a tragedy.”
State District Judge Grant Dorfman agreed with Calloway that the lawyer owed her $168,000 in actual damages and $336,000 in punitive damages.
Reynolds had given Calloway about $82,000 – about half of what he owed her – about 18 months after he received the settlement check, according to testimony.
On Friday, the judge agreed that Reynolds should forfeit his share of the mediated settlement because of his misdeeds.
After he ruled, the judge told Calloway that he had seen other consumers wronged by unethical business practices, but said Calloway’s circumstances were “crueler” than most.
“It’s especially troubling that it is a member of the state bar, much less a state rep,” the judge said.
It was in his capacity as a state representative that Reynolds approached Calloway, she testified Friday. He came to her home to console her two days after her daughter’s death in his role as her local legislator, she said. He then offered to represent her in a lawsuit.
Calloway’s attorney, Jim Culpepper, said authorities may also look at the case as another charge of barratry or in a grievance to the state bar, the agency that licenses attorneys and has the power to disbar them. Culpepper said he has not pursued those kinds of actions because he did not want to be accused of seeking criminal charges to leverage his position in the lawsuit.
As you know, I’ve been following both the primary and runoff in HD27, between Rep. Reynolds and Angelique Bartholomew, and the ongoing saga of Ron Reynolds’ legal problems – see here for plenty of related posts. I’ve said before that I like Rep. Reynolds personally, and I understand why his friends have continued to support him. But I have to say, with each of these stories, it gets harder for me to understand it. Beneath the fold is a long missive from Annie’s List, which is backing Bartholomew, detailing Reynolds’ history of judgments against him by former clients. To be as blunt as I can, this shit is unacceptable. I don’t know all the facts in all these cases, and I’m sure that as his political opponents in this runoff, Annie’s List has put everything in as unflattering a light for Reynolds as they can. But you can grant all the mitigating circumstances and more-to-the-story explanations you like, the pattern of behavior is clear, and we haven’t even mentioned the barratry conviction. Just look at the list of excuses and justifications Reynolds gives in this Trib story, and you’ll see that he’s still not willing to own the problems he has caused. I’m sorry it’s come to this, and I feel terrible for Rep. Reynolds’ family, but we do him no favors by continuing to support his political career. He needs to drop out of the runoff, and get his affairs in order. He owes that to his constituents, his clients, his family and friends and supporters, and himself.
Today, Annie’s List Executive Director Patsy Woods Martin issued the following statement upon the revelation that House District incumbent Rep. Ron Reynolds, who serves as the House minority whip, has three new filings he’s contesting:
“In what is just the latest development in a 10-year history of problematic judgement, HD 27 incumbent Rep. Ron Reynolds has managed to land himself back in court on three additional charges of misconduct. Let’s not forget that these latest court appearances are while he’s out on bond for a 5-count criminal conviction.
The pattern of wrongdoing is stunning! It’s also deeply unfortunate for those living in the District.
While the incumbent State Rep. Ron Reynolds is embroiled in scandal, Ft. Bend County continues to outpace infrastructure as one of the fastest growing communities in the State. There is no doubt that children, families, neighbors and business owners need advocates able to focus on their needs — not working to keep themselves out of court.
Annie’s List is proud to support Angelique Bartholomew, a competent and exciting leader to help Texans in HD 27 seize opportunities to address their needs for growing schools, demands on roads and other infrastructure and to increase and protect the local economy.
On May 24th, voters in HD 27 have a clear choice: selecting a leader who will fight for them at the Statehouse, or sticking with a guy fighting to keep himself out of the jailhouse.”
Annie’s List is a statewide political organization dedicated to achieving equality for women by changing the face of power in Texas. We work year-round to recruit, train, support and elect pro-choice, progressive women in Texas. Since our founding in 2003, Annie’s List has contributed over $4.5 million, trained thousands of women and helped elect 27 progressive women to office.
Background on this race, and charges follow this release.
Background on the Race
Texas State House District 27 (HD-27) includes Missouri City, Stafford, Pearland and Arcola, and parts of Houston, TX. Adjusted from the 2010 census, Texas House Districts represent 169,520 residents; more than half this district is made up of African-American and Latinos families.
The seat is currently held by Representative Ron Reynolds who is facing civil suits from former clients alleging theft, and jail time for a recent conviction for illegally soliciting clients. A detailed list of misconduct dating back 10 years is included below.
Bartholomew, a long-time resident and leader in House District 27, is a first-time candidate. On March 1, 2016 Bartholomew’s strong, grassroots campaign earned a second-place finish from the Democratic primary election and propelled her into a runoff election against the incumbent.
The runoff for this race has been set for Tuesday, May 24th. The Early Voting period is Monday 5/16 – Friday 5/20/2016.
Bartholomew currently serves as the Director of Compliance at a private medical firm. She grew up in Alabama and comes from a family of preachers and Civil Rights advocates. Bartholomew is a graduate of Miles Law School and Fisk University. She has been endorsed by a former primary opponent and district native Chris Henderson, the Afro-American Police Officers League (AAPOL) and Annie’s List, which is a leading statewide political action committee which seeks to elect Democratic women. She is a graduate of Annie’s List Ready to Run Candidate 101 Training.
Over her career, Bartholomew has become a powerful advocate for education and healthcare. She is also a leading voice for entrepreneurs like herself. Bartholomew understands that economic security and opportunity are fundamental for healthy, safe families and communities. She lives in Missouri City, TX. For more information about Angelique Bartholomew, visit www.BartholomewForTexas.com.
Background on Rep. Ron Reynolds’ pattern of misconduct
State Representative Ron Reynolds has a pattern of wrongdoing, unethical behavior, professional misconduct, and bad acts which spans longer than a decade. Reynolds has been sued for legal malpractice and breach of duty by his clients a total of seven (7) times, and he was also sued by the law firm who represented him in two malpractice lawsuits.
Reynolds has approximately $700,000 in court “judgments” entered against him in Harris County Courts and Harris County District Courts, and this does not include the cases he settled or the half dozen cases currently pending trial. In addition, receiverships have been ordered by two courts to collect more than a quarter of a million dollars in unpaid judgments against Ron Reynolds. Following is a brief summary of some of the lawsuits filed against Ron Reynolds.
In addition to actively appealing a 5-count criminal conviction of barratry (ambulance chasing), Rep. Ron Reynolds is also currently embroiled in the following legal challenges:
Murray v. Ron Reynolds: Filed January 15, 2015
A former client sued Ron for legal malpractice alleging that Ron settled the claim without the clients’ consent. According to the lawsuit, Ron Reynolds settled the case against his clients’ wishes for $7,350. The clients sued Ron for legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. On April 1, 2016, the court entered Judgment against Ron Reynolds for $95,900.
Pacific Health Clinic v. Ron Reynolds: Filed March 26, 2014
A healthcare provider sued Ron for failing to pay his client’s medical expenses with settlement proceeds as agreed. This case is pending.
Calloway v. Ron Reynolds: Filed June 26, 2015
A former client sued Ron alleging that he failed to pay her from the $250,000 wrongful death settlement involving her daughter. According to the lawsuit, Ron paid some of the settlement proceeds to the wrong people and failed to pay anything to the mother of the woman who died in the accident. This case was the subject of a recent news story. This case is pending.
59 Chiropractic v. Ron Reynolds: Filed June 17, 2013
A chiropractor sued Ron Reynolds for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud related to agreements to pay for medical services from the settlement proceeds of Ron’s clients. This case is pending and preparing for trial. Reynolds filed for a continuance on March 24, 2016. The court date is now September 26, 2016.
Ultimate Pain Solutions v. Ron Reynolds: Filed March 9, 2016
A medical care service provider sued Ron Reynolds for failing to pay his clients’ medical expenses with settlement proceeds as agreed. This case is pending.
Violated Texas Ethics Commission’s “conversion to personal use” rule – according to Reynolds’ 2016 Primary 8-day campaign finance expenditure of $2,273 to repair his personal automobile.
Ramos v. Ron Reynolds: Filed March 20, 2015
A former client sued Ron for legal malpractice alleging that Ron settled the claim without the clients’ consent and failed to pay the client any of the $30,000 in settlement proceeds. The former client is suing Ron for legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. This case is pending.
Commission for Lawyer Discipline v. Ron Reynolds: Filed February 12, 2014
In sum, the State Bar is seeking ethics charges against Ron for the same allegations related to his recent barratry conviction. This case is pending.
Braulio v. Ron Reynolds: Filed February 9, 2013
A former client sued Ron for herself and her minor child, alleging that Ron settled their case without their consent, forged signatures, deposited funds and failed to pay the clients. According to the lawsuit, Ron settled the mother and child claims for $13,400 total, and failed to pay the clients any of the settlement proceeds. On May 5, 2014, Ron agreed to a $20,000 judgment against him on this case.
H. Ameri Health Care Clinics, Inc. v. Ron Reynolds: Filed February 27, 2014
A healthcare provider sued Ron for failing to pay medical expenses with settlement proceeds. On November 5, 2015, the court entered a judgment against Ron Reynolds in the amount of $162,106.00. The court noted that “Defendant Ronald Eugene Reynolds has refused to provide full and complete responses to Plaintiff’s discovery requests, as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court’s Order.” The court previously ordered Ron to respond to discovery requests and participate in the lawsuit, and Ron failed or refused to do so.
Memorial MRI v. Ron Reynolds: Filed April 29, 2013
An MRI facility sued Ron for failure to pay for MRIs administered to Ron’s clients. There was an agreement to pay for the MRIs from the settlement proceeds of each client’s case. On October 10, 2013, the court entered judgment against Ron Reynolds in the amount of $172,869.00. On June 2, 2014, the court ordered a receivership to collect the unpaid judgment from Ron Reynolds.
SignAd Ltd. v. Ron Reynolds: Filed October 7, 2013
A billboard company sued Ron Reynolds for failure to pay for billboard advertising as agreed. On September 22, 2014, the court entered a final default judgment against Ron Reynolds in the amount of $8,740.00.
Mana MRI, L.C. v. Ron Reynolds: Judgement on December 15, 2014
An MRI facility sued Ron Reynolds for failure to pay for MRIs administered to Ron’s clients. There was an agreement to pay for the MRIs from the settlement proceeds of each client’s case. The company recovered a $89,753 judgement against Ron on December 15, 2014. On October 14, 2015, the court granted Mana MRI a receivership against Ron to collect the unpaid judgment.
Johnson v. Ron Reynolds: Filed April 12, 2012
A former client sued Ron for legal malpractice alleging that Ron settled the claim without the client’s consent and failed to make certain legal demands on the insurance company as he represented to the clients. Ron Reynolds settled this case.
The Bennett Law Firm v. Ron Reynolds: Filed February 25, 2010
The law firm that represented Ron Reynolds in legal malpractice lawsuits sued Ron for unpaid legal bills. Ron Reynolds settled this case.
Grimes v. Ron Reynolds: Filed April 25, 2005
A former client sued Ron Reynolds for legal malpractice after Ron filed her federal employment discrimination lawsuit and failed to do any work on the case after it was filed. The federal court ultimately dismissed the discrimination case, but Ron never told his client about the dismissal. Ron also failed to respond to the dismissal. The legal malpractice case went to a jury trial, and on March 5, 2009, a 12-person jury rendered a unanimous verdict against Ron Reynolds for malpractice for $150,000, and this amount included $50,000 in exemplary or punitive damages.
This pattern was most recently documented in February of 2016 in this damaging news story alleging theft of a grieving mother: