MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> A Newtown Square woman is suing a disbarred attorney for $160,000 she claims to be owed under a settlement agreement that was never honored.
Yvonne Jewell is alleging two claims for breach of contract and detrimental reliance against former Philadelphia attorney Adrian Joseph Moody, according to a civil complaint filed in Delaware County Common Pleas Court last week. No attorney for Moody was listed in online court documents as of Wednesday.
Jewell says she hired Moody as her attorney following the death of Dr. James West in 2006. West allegedly represented verbally in the last years of his life that he was leaving his entire $1.8 million estate to Jewell, but never properly put those wishes into a written last will and testament.
Moody litigated the case and received some amount owed to Jewell that was presumably put into his attorney trust account, but then misappropriated significant funds owed to Jewell and did not respond to her communications, the complaint says.
Jewell eventually hired Reading attorney Stephen Yarnell and filed a complaint against Moody, who was disbarred in 2015 for misappropriating funds from another client, the complaint says.
Through his counsel, Moody allegedly represented that he wants to be reinstated as an attorney and that settling the matter with Jewell would help in that regard, the complaint says. He also allegedly asked for time to make payments, which he planned to fund by borrowing money from friends, and stated that he might file for bankruptcy if an agreement could not be reached, the complaint says.
The parties reached a settlement agreement on June 22, 2020, in which Moody agreed to pay Jewell $160,000, including an initial payment of $55,000 due within 90 days, according to the complaint. An order to settle, discontinue and end the civil action was subsequently filed in the Common Pleas Court, effectively rendering the matter closed.
But Jewell now claims that despite the resolution, Moody has not paid a dime of the agreed sum as of June 1, 2021. Yarnell contacted Moody’s counsel in the intervening period, but that attorney either said Moody could not be reached or was struggling with a legal action brought against him by the Internal Revenue Service, the complaint says. Several meetings to resolve the matter were set, all of which were allegedly canceled by Moody’s attorney.
Jewell says Moody is now in breach of the settlement agreement and believes he is hiding assets to defraud creditors, including herself.
She is seeking a judgment for
damages in excess of $160,000 with interest, along with attorney’s fees,
and has asked that the court reinstate the previous action as if it
were never ordered settled until Moody fulfills the terms of the
agreement in full.