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Former Miles partner testifies in firm’s defense

Michael A. Brown left Miles & Stockbridge PC to lead Nelson Mullins’ litigation team. ‘Over the last decade, their litigation practice has grown into a top-tier department working on bet-the-company matters for clients, and I am quite pleased to join such a strong firm with a national litigation infrastructure,’ he said. ‘I’m sure my clients will benefit from the resources that will be available to us.’ (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

Michael A. Brown, who left Miles & Stockbridge PC in February, said Tuesday he has not received his last paycheck nor his capital contribution from his former firm but is aware of a policy on payment being ‘set off’ from the equity principal’s capital contribution, depending on whether they owe money to the firm. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

Former Miles & Stockbridge PC equity principal Michael A. Brown testified for his old firm in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Tuesday but also showed sympathy for his former colleague suing for breach of contract and wage theft.

Brown was a member of Miles & Stockbridge’s board of directors and chair of its diversity committee before he left in March to become a partner at the new Baltimore office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

When Donald E. English Jr., the former Miles & Stockbridge equity partner and now plaintiff, was up for that promotion in 2014, he asked Brown if he would be making more money in the new role, Brown testified.

When English announced his resignation in June 2017 to join Jackson Lewis PC, Brown testified he told English that he was not getting his equity back, relaying a decision made by firm leadership. Brown said he speculated at the time English’s collections may have been low but was not familiar with any specific provisions in English’s employment agreement.

Brown, much like his Nelson Mullins colleagues who testified during the plaintiff’s case, said he has not received his last paycheck nor his capital contribution from Miles & Stockbridge but is aware of the firm’s policy on payment being “set off” from the equity principal’s capital contribution, depending on whether they owe money to the firm.

But Brown, who was frequently described as one of Miles & Stockbridge’s heavy hitters, also admitted he did not read his employment contract with his former firm, nor did he understand the firm’s calculation of what it claims English owed, even after a meeting he called with firm leadership to discuss English’s contract.

“I was still confused,” Brown said.

Miles & Stockbridge, in court filings, has said its pay for equity principals draws against their projected earnings but that money is not necessarily earned when the attorney is paid the money. President and CEO Joseph W. Hovermill testified Monday the money is paid in advance based on estimates about firm’s planned profits for the year.

English claims after he resigned, Miles & Stockbridge reduced his salary and “clawed back” nearly $60,000 the firm had paid him, the lawsuit states. The firm also refused to pay English for his work on the last three days of the job as well as his salary and benefits through the end of the month and any prorated bonuses, according to the lawsuit.

When he advised English on taking the equity principal promotion, Brown said nothing about his salary being advances, he testified. When Brown himself came back to Miles & Stockbridge in 2009, he also did not have any conversations about his pay being an advance, he said.

Expert testimony

Prior to Brown’s testimony, an expert witness for the defense calculated English’s compensation by doing the math on a board for the jury and concluded that it matched Miles & Stockbridge’s calculation.

But under cross-examianation, Tamika Tremaglio acknowledged her law license is suspended for administrative reasons under her maiden name and an old address on the Maryland Judiciary’s attorney listing despite testifying in her deposition that her law license was in good standing

“I had no reason to think otherwise,” Tremaglio said, adding it was the first she had heard of her license being suspended. She does not practice law in her role as Greater Washington managing principal at Deloitte.

Tonya Baña also questioned how much Tremaglio relied on documents provided by Miles & Stockbridge in her calculations, suggesting that her conclusions may be different if she used the plaintiffs’ documents.

But an attorney representing Miles & Stockbridge referred to them on redirect as “source documents.”

The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday in the case, Donald E. English, Jr. vs Miles & Stockbridge PC, 24C17004438.

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