Malpractice Suit Filed Against Diaz, Reus & Targ
Canon Inc.'s Latin American subsidiary is suing Miami law firm Diaz, Reus & Targ, saying it was billed $6 million in an effort to collect $247,000 from a office equipment distributor in Costa Rica.
The law firm issued a statement in response to the malpractice complaint filed Sept. 23 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court saying it was being made a scapegoat in "an internal corporate dispute."
The lawsuit claims Diaz Reus urged Canon Latin America to continue litigation since it would be able to recover attorney fees as compensatory damages. Miami-based Canon Latin America Inc. claims that assertion was "devoid of factual or legal support but conveniently allowed the defendants to continue to charge outrageous and unnecessary legal fees" over seven years.
The lawsuit also charges negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in seeking disgorgement of the legal fees. Besides the firm, partner Michael Diaz Jr. is named individually.
Diaz, Reus & Targ issued a statement by email saying the lawsuit is the result of an internal struggle between Canon USA and its Latin American subsidiary that arose before the firm was retained. The firm said the camera and copier distributor decided to ignore Diaz Reus' legal advice.
"Despite the fact that the legal strategy was ultimately successful, Diaz Reus is now unfortunately caught in the middle of this internal corporate dispute and is being asked to pay the price for Canon Latin America's missteps," the statement read. "We have no intention of being made a scapegoat."
Canon Latin American claims it obtained only an uncollectible $247,000 consent judgment after two lawsuits with Lantech (C.R.) S.A. in Costa Rica and two more cases in Miami federal court. The first federal case on forum selection generated more than 400 docket entries, and the second alleging fraudulent transfers produced more than 500 entries before Diaz Reus was fired in January 2012.
The malpractice lawsuit said the law firm dismissed the sole cause of action that would allow the payment of attorney fees without informing Canon while reassuring the company "that it could (and would) still recover" the fees.
Describing the initial federal case, the lawsuit said, "Diaz Reus controlled the litigation on CLA's behalf, unilaterally determining the steps to be taken and rarely consulting with CLA concerning the viability, advisability or cost-effectiveness of the actions that it took on CLA's behalf. At nearly every turn and often with no other apparent justification than to fight for the sake of the fighting, Diaz Reus sought the court's intervention — often moving for reconsideration of or appealing from even the most routine decisions."