Attorney Hanson appears to have come up on the short end in a case filed by National Legal Staffing Support and Resolvly against him.
The case filed in Florida surrounded actions described in the Summary Final Judgment.
The court document stated, “On October 26, 2020, Plaintiffs National Legal Staffing Support, LLC (“NLSS”) and Resolvly, LLC (“Resolvly”) sued for breach of the confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions of two separate settlement agreements against Defendants Macy Hanson and his law firm, the Law Office of Macy D. Hanson, PLLC (together, “Hanson”). (Three other counts were dismissed without prejudice and former Plaintiff GM Law Firm, LLC dismissed all counts filed on its behalf). The two settlements contained non-disclosure and/or non-disparagement clauses that the Plaintiffs allege bound Hanson. The Plaintiffs allege that Hanson breached his obligations under these settlements by disclosing the existence of one settlement alongside disparaging remarks against the Plaintiffs and by disseminating a certain affidavit in subsequent litigation.
A jury trial was scheduled to occur on May 23, 2022. On the day of the trial before a jury was empaneled, however, it became apparent that there were no facts in dispute. The Parties disagreed about the interpretation of the two contracts and legal conclusions that were to be drawn from the facts, but the underlying facts were not subject to a genuine dispute. The Parties jointly requested that the Court entertain cross-motions for summary judgment, to which the Court agreed and the jury trial was cancelled. The transcript of the May 23, 2022 hearing, which lasted nearly five hours, is on file.
Shortly after the May 23, 2022 hearing, the Defendants requested leave to amend their answer with respect to several affirmative defenses. The Court granted the motion for leave to amend, over Plaintiffs’ objection, and reopened discovery limited to the newly pled affirmative defenses.
After discovery closed a second time, the Plaintiffs moved for summary final judgment regarding the Plaintiffs’ two breach of contract claims and the Defendants’ affirmative defenses. The Defendants opposed the Plaintiffs’ motion but did not file their own cross-motion for summary judgment.
Background & Undisputed Facts
Macy Hanson and his law firm was counsel for the four plaintiffs in Matthew Ali, et. al. v. Kevin Mason, P.A., et. al., Case No. 2:18-cv-01110-CBM-FFM in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Macy Hanson and his law firm was counsel for the defendant, Je’Henna Williamson, in National Legal Staffing Support, LLC v. Je’Henna Williamson, Palm Beach Circuit Court Case No. 18-010100. Both cases ended with a written confidential settlement agreement, but Macy Hanson did not sign either contract.
Hanson was attorney of record in the Ali litigation. In the Williamson litigation, Hanson (who is barred only in Mississippi) represented Williamson without filing a notice of appearance. Undisputed record evidence demonstrates that Hanson ghostwrote pleadings for Williamson and negotiated the settlement with NLSS on her behalf. Williamson referred to Hanson as her attorney in contemporaneous emails. Paragraph 2 of the settlement agreement expressly identifies Hanson as Williamson’s attorney. Hanson’s co-counsel in both the Ali and Williamson lawsuits, non-party Dan Gamez who is also not barred in Florida, testified that he and Hanson represented Williamson in the Palm Beach lawsuit. Hanson equivocates on whether he was Williamson’s attorney for purposes of the Williamson litigation and the related settlement, but the record evidence is clear that he ghostwrote pleadings, reviewed the settlement agreement and Ms. Williamson was under the impression that Mr. Hanson was her attorney in the Palm Beach Circuit case.
Under the terms of the Ali settlement, Hanson was bound as counsel to the Ali plaintiffs to maintain confidentiality regarding the settlement’s existence and terms. Hanson was also bound as counsel to the settlement’s non-disparagement provision. The settlement contained a liquidated damages provision that required the Ali plaintiffs and their counsel to forfeit the portion of the settlement amount they received if they breached the agreement. Paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 of the Ali settlement expressly and repeatedly indicate that “the Plaintiffs’ counsel” is bound by these provisions. Hanson does not challenge the text or the plain meaning of paragraphs 8, 9 or 10. Hanson admits he received $50,000 in attorney’s fees as part of the Ali settlement.
Pursuant to paragraph 5 of the Williamson settlement, Williamson’s attorneys and agents were bound not to further publicize or produce or disseminate a certain affidavit executed by Williamson (the “Affidavit”). Paragraph 2 of the Williamson settlement identifies by name Macy Hanson and non-party Dan Gamez as Williamson’s attorneys. At the expressed written request of Hanson, the Williamson settlement included a release of claims against Hanson and his co-counsel Dan Gamez. According to Hanson’s email, he did not want to be sued for his obtaining or use of the Williamson affidavit in connection with the Ali settlement or litigation.
In November 2018, and within approximately 30 days of the execution of both settlements, Hanson engaged in conduct which the Plaintiffs allege violated provisions of the respective settlement agreements to which Hanson was bound. The Plaintiffs allege that Hanson breached the Ali settlement’s confidentiality and non-disparagements provisions through a public reply to a comment on an online article concerning the Ali litigation on ClassAction.org. Hanson’s public reply disclosed the existence of the Ali settlement and contained language
disparaging the Plaintiffs as having perpetrated a “scam” and creating “victims:”
“Hey, Jeff, how long have you worked for NLSS and Greg Fishman? THIS CASE WAS DISMISSED BECAUSE THE DEFENDANTS SETTLED. Co-counsel, Dan Gamez, and I have filed a new class action case. Despite what Jeff (fake name, I am sure) claims, this is a complete scam and all victims of its should talk with an attorney. Dan Gamez and I would be happy to discuss this with any of you.”
[Emphasis in original]. Hanson admits he wrote this comment and the comment is part of the record evidence in this case.
The Plaintiffs also allege that Hanson breached the Williamson settlement’s confidentiality clause regarding the Affidavit by using the Affidavit in subsequent litigation. It is undisputed that the discredited Williamson affidavit was filed as Exhibit A to a copy-cat lawsuit filed by Hanson known as Vivian Grijalva, et al. v. Kevin Mason, P.A., et al , Case No. 8:18-cv- 02010- MCS-DFM (filed Nov. 9, 2018). The Affidavit was later stricken by the district court as irrelevant. See D.E. 115 in Grijalva.
Hanson dismissed Grijalva with prejudice but without any settlement or agreement with either NLSS or Resolvly. Two subsequent copy-cat lawsuits were filed but dismissed with prejudice. See Zachary Hodges v. GM Law Firm, LLC, et al, Case No. 1:20-cv-03799-JPB (N.D. Ga.) (filed Sept. 18, 2020) and Brian Winkler v. GM Law Firm, LLC, et al, Case No. 3:20- cv-08248-DWL (D. Az.) (filed Sept. 21, 2020. Another similar multi-plaintiff but consolidated lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Florida and dismissed on October 12, 2021. See White, et. al. v. GM Law Firm, LLC, et. al., Case No. 9:21-cv-80896 (S.D. Fla.) (filed May 18, 20 21).
This lawsuit was filed in April 2020.”
Court Orders Hanson to Pay
The Judge ruled that Macy Hanson did not have the decision fall in his favor. In fact, the Judge entered a Final Judgment in favor of Plaintiffs National Legal Staffing Support, LLC and Resolvly, LLC, whose address is 1515 S. Federal Highway, Suite 113, Boca Raton, Florida.
The Judge stated Hanson and his law firm will have to pay “the amount of $50,001.00 (fifty-thousand one dollars), plus prejudgment interest in the amount of $10,661.02 (ten-thousand six-hundred sixty-one dollars and two cents) for a total amount of $60,662.02 (sixty-thousand six-hundred sixty-two dollars and two cents), that shall bear post-judgment interest at the prevailing statutory rate established pursuant to § 55.03, Florida Statutes, (4.75% annually through December 31, 2022).”
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