from Jeff Haley, co-founding partner
I was one of three founders of the Graybeal Jackson patent law firm in 1990. To minimize risk of wasteful disputes, we wrote a partnership agreement that spelled out who was entitled to how much money in all scenarios, including retirement.
When John Graybeal died, the firm paid the appropriate amount to his estate. When Larry Jackson retired, the firm paid him the retirement amounts he was due. There was not a single complaint or question raised in either case.
But then, when I retired, with Josh King the leading partner, the firm refused to pay my retirement buy-out (“departure benefits” under the partnership agreement). The partners, Josh King Dick Gray, Brian Santarelli, Paul Rusyn, and Kevin Jablonski, asserted frivolous legal theories why the departure benefits were not owed.
Although my lawyer frequently solicited offers of payment for settlement, the Graybeal partners offered nothing. A reasonable business person would have assessed the situation and made a reasonable offer. Josh King and his partners are not the sort of people you want to do business with.
I was forced to take the matter all the way through arbitration. The arbitrator awarded my full retirement benefits to the penny. But I incurred $63,134 in attorney fees and $12,680 for arbitration costs, a total of $75,814, to recover the $129,667 that I was owed. Josh King represented the Graybeal firm so the firm incurred no legal fees while it was running up my bill.
I write to warn associates and prospective partners of the risks of joining this firm, at least so long as Josh King, Dick Gray, Brian Santarelli, Paul Rusyn, and Kevin Jablonski make up a majority of the partners. Spending your money and energy in litigation is not worth the potential benefits.
If you would like me to send you a copy of the arbitrator’s ruling, please send an e-mail to haleyconsulting(at)gmail.com.