LAWRENCE R. WOOD, Appellants
MINH-TAM "TAMMY" TRAN AND TAMMY TRAN AND ASSOCIATES, Appellees
Appeal from the 152nd District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2017-33605
consists of Justices Keyes, Goodman, and Kelly.
"Tammy" Tran and Tammy Tran and Associates
(collectively, Tran) represented Lawrence Wood pursuant to
the terms of an engagement agreement the parties executed in
October 2002. Wood initiated the underlying suit in 2017,
claiming that Tran breached the agreement allegedly by
retaining excessive fees.
moved for summary judgment, contending that Wood's
breach-of-contract claims were barred by the applicable
statute of limitations. The trial court granted Tran's
motion, and Wood appeals, contending that the trial court did
not identify the proper accrual date. We affirm.
September 2002, Tran agreed to represent Wood, who was doing
business as Wood Resources, in a suit that stemmed from a
November 2001 fire at Wood's recycling and disposal
factory. At first, Tran's representation involved
defending Wood against Harris County's lawsuit to recover
costs associated with extinguishing the fire, including
charges for work performed by Boots & Coots, a private
firefighting company under contract with the County. As the
case developed, Wood and Tran discussed the possibility of
bringing a third-party claim against Boots & Coots on the
theory that it had overcharged for the work by prolonging the
fire. Wood and Tran also discussed having Tran represent Wood
in collecting charges owed by customers with delinquent
later, Tran and Wood executed a new engagement contract that
expanded the scope of Tran's representation to
incorporate these additional matters. Wood agreed to pay a
"flat amount of $50, 000" to cover all costs and
expenses in the third-party claim against Boots & Coots
and the collection claims to be brought on Wood's behalf.
The parties agreed that on recovery or settlement of the
said contingent attorneys' fee will be figured on the
total net recovery or settlement prior to deduction for
Firm's costs, expenses, and fees of any kind. Upon
recovery, the $50, 000 advance by Client shall be reimbursed
to Client with all costs and expenses to be included within
Firm's contingent fee.
30% of any settlement or recovery made before suit is filed
40% of any settlement or recovery made after suit is filed;
45% of any settlement or recovery made after a notice of
appeal has been given or an appeal bond has been filed.
recalled that his uncle negotiated the terms of the fee
agreement with Tran. Wood and Tran signed the agreement on
October 9, 2002.
litigated the third-party claim against Boots & Coots on
Wood's behalf. In 2003, the parties settled it for $50,
000. Wood met with Tran at her office to finalize the
settlement. He signed the Boots & Coots settlement
agreement and ...