A New York woman is accusing her former attorney of improperly referring a lawsuit against her to his father while still representing her in a related action.
Farva Jafri filed her complaint July 12 in federal court in Chicago against John C. Gekas and the firm where he is a partner, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, which is headquartered in Philadelphia and has an office in Chicago, alleging multiple violations of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
Gekas defended both Jafri and her former employer, Signal Funding, LLC, in Cook County Circuit Court against a complaint from Oasis Legal Finance Operating Company LLC beginning in May 2017. She said Gekas didn’t respond to her written request for terms of their retention agreement, not did he provide disclosure of conflicts.
On Dec. 1, 2017, according to the complaint, Gekas referred a lawsuit Signal Funding was planning to bring against Jafri to his father, Chicago attorney Constantine John Gekas. On Dec. 4, Jafri said, she asked John Gekas to stop representing her because he placed the interests of Signal Funding above her own.
Constantine Gekas served Jafri a summons on Dec. 7 on behalf of Signal Funding and Signal Financial Holdings for a complaint filed in federal court in Chicago that remains active. As of that date, Constantine Gekas and John Gekas were partners in Gekas Law LLP.
On Dec. 18, Jafri filed a motion to disqualify Constantine Gekas from representing Signal in the federal complaint. In his response to that motion, Constantine Gekas purportedly admitted John Gekas made the referral while still defending Jafri and Signal in the Oasis complaint.
Jafri said she freely discussed her work at Signal Funding with John Gekas while he represented her in the Oasis complaint, including the use of template documents Oasis allegedly maintained are trade secrets, and Jafri alleged there are legal grounds for presuming the father and son shared information, through their professional, business and family relationships, that should have been confidential and subject to attorney-client privilege.
She also said John Gekas encouraged her to settle with Oasis on terms “that would be detrimental to her business and personal interests.” According to the complaint, the federal lawsuit Jafri faces has caused “significant financial damage” of at least $75,000. She wants the court to award damages, interest and legal fees.
Jafri is represented in the matter by Leroy U. Ekechukwu , of Ekechukwu Law Group, Chicago.