Lawyers' suit against Miles turning into nasty feud

November 21, 2001|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A $20 million lawsuit filed against Baltimore lawyer Stephen L. Miles by two associates has turned into a nasty feud, with both sides arguing over how depositions will be taken and Miles accusing one of the plaintiffs of deceiving the other.

In their lawsuit, lawyers Scott B. Goldstein and James K. MacAlister allege misrepresentation and fraud, claiming that Miles broke promises to sell them his law firm. Each lawyer is seeking $10 million in damages.

Late last week, Miles filed a counterclaim, denying liability and asking a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Miles contends that Goldstein and an unnamed third party were negotiating without MacAlister's knowledge to buy Miles' law firm.

His claim states that "should a liability exist," Goldstein should be ordered to pay damages to MacAlister.

Mark Mixter, lawyer for Goldstein and MacAlister, declined to comment. Miles' attorney, Michael Libowitz, could not be reached for comment.

In their lawsuit, filed in September, Goldstein and MacAlister claim Miles agreed to sell them his law firm at various times during the 1990s but later refused to sign a contract. Both men claim that they turned down lucrative job offers elsewhere in anticipation of buying out Miles.

Instead, Miles and Saiontz and Kirk, two Baltimore-based law practices that spent millions of dollars on television and telephone-book advertisements to attract personal injury and other cases, joined forces in June 1999. All three lawyers involved in the lawsuit now work there.

The two sides also have begun sparring over depositions, with each trying to get the other to talk first. A flurry of requests from the two sides for the three men to appear for depositions has been followed by a request from one of the attorneys that a judge settle the dispute over who goes first.

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