Local attorney warns of law firms targeting victims

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – After last year’s Woodmore bus crash, the mother of one of the victims says she was targeted by out of state law firms.

Latesha Jones, filed a lawsuit against Taylor Funeral Home and Witherspoon Law Group.

The lawsuit states Jones was locked in a room at the funeral home and urged to sign with an attorney.

Legal experts say it’s not new for out of state law firms to target victim’s families when tragedies occur. One attorney is trying to put a stop to this.

Jay Kennamer, with McMahan Law Firm, who is not involved with this case, says he see instances like this after tragedies occur. He says he was actually contacted by an attorney after the Ooltewah I-75 crash.

“Well after some prying, I found out that that law firm had not been engaged properly by the widower that they were seeking to have me represent. And I said to them and I was angry about it, not only am I not going to represent them. You aren’t either,” Kennamer said.

He is not surprised it is happening again.

“I would see and people would come in for a catastrophic event and when it happened with the Woodmore families, I knew they were coming, so I knew what to look out for,” Kennamer said.

In addition to law firms, he says there are also solicitors.

“Generally it is a telemarketing group that will go and thumb through the police reports, get people’s personal information of victim’s in car wrecks, call them right after the fact, claim or imply that they are from the insurance company,” explains Kennamer.

Kennamer has some advice.

He says, “If you receive telephone calls and the person won’t give their last name, if you call back that number and you get a vague response and they ask if you were in a wreck or some type of circumstance that was horrible occurrence sort of like the Woodmore bus crash, they need to be aware that it could be a solicitor.”

Kennamer filed a complaint against a solicitor and is keeping track with piles of cases.

“I have built up, voluminous files of evidence, a stack of complaints, I have made to the board of health and also to the bar and also to the attorney general’s office and we will continue to do so. We have to protect our own,” Kennamer said.

Jones lawsuit asks for $750,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.

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