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Legal services companies accuse former employees, Chicago lawyer of conspiring to steal clients for their own venture

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jul 9, 2014

A Chicago-based company specializing in arranging legal services for investors in and managers of foreclosed and other distressed properties is suing two of its former employees, claiming they spread lies and false information about it, improperly held themselves out to be lawyers and poached clients for a competing venture.

Adminacase LLC and Cloud View LLC Payer, both of which are owned by Roopit Patel, filed suit June 26 in the Cook County Circuit Court against former employees Joseph S. Varan and Ketevan “Katie” Ingorokva, as well as Chicago attorney Matthew E. Gurvey.

He accuses the three of defamation, civil conspiracy and tortious interference for the actions he asserts the trio took to disrupt and damage his businesses and the lawyers they contract with. 

Patel is seeking more than $200,000 in damages, as well as court-ordered injunctions to prevent Varan, Ingorokva and Gurvey from contacting any more of his clients and continuing with what he describes as a campaign of “paper terrorism” against his businesses, clients and associates.

Court records show Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Pantle earlier this month denied Patel's request for a temporary restraining order, continued the matter until next month.

The case stems from the actions Patel claims the three defendants took after he fired Varan and Ingorokva in May.

Varan worked for Patel’s Adminicase and Cloud View, and Ingorokva worked for Patel’s companies as an independent contractor, both since 2010.

Adminicase specializes in administering prepaid legal services plans and group legal services plans, primarily on behalf of clients working with foreclosed and distressed properties. Under this service, clients pay monthly to receive legal services from licensed attorneys arranged by Adminicase.

Cloud View LLC Payer creates special series LLCs to hire licensed attorneys to litigate cases for clients dealing with distressed properties that are not owner-occupied.

In the four years Varan and Ingorokva worked for Adminacase and Cloud View, Patel's suit states their responsibilities included, among other tasks, researching potential cases and recruiting and signing clients.

However, earlier this year, Patel said reviews of their work, and, subsequent searches of their offices and documents, revealed the two had been secretly working to build a companies they owned and operated, one called A LLC and another doing business as Without Recourse.

He alleges the pair surreptitiously used his companies' confidential information to do so, and allegedly pocketed money from property transactions carried out by his clients.

Following their May firings, Patel claims his two former employees, along with attorney Gurvey, have worked to undermine his businesses by contacting clients to persuade them to transfer their legal services to them.

In the process, Patel alleges the defendants have lied about his businesses and some of the lawyers with whom he works with at Leading Legal LLC in Chicago, claiming they were botching their cases and in at least one instance, claimed one lawyer was “screwing up cases left and right.”

Patel claims in other instances,Varan and Ingorokva had persistently called on his clients to sign power of attorney for their cases to them. He further alleges the pair, in their conversations with his clients, had “knowingly made representations to clients that would reasonably lead those clients to believe” falsely they were licensed attorneys.

In his suit, he said accused his former employees of “giving out legal advice and drafting legal documents, in violation of Illinois Supreme Court Rules” and the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

To date, Patel alleges at least 30 of his clients have requested their files or made efforts to cancel their contracts with his businesses as a result of the defendants' alleged actions. He claims he has had to offer incentives to persuade other clients to stay with him, costing him significantly.

Patel's suit was filed by Michael C. Bruck, Kristin B. Ives and Megan A. Rees of Williams, Montgomery & John Ltd. in Chicago. Records show the defendants are being represented by attorneys at Weissberg & Associates Ltd.

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