A-OK Enterprises sues Joseph Hollander & Craft over incorrectly filed lawsuits

WICHITA — Bruce Harris and his A-OK Enterprises have sued Joseph Hollander & Craft, a past attorney for the company, but no one with the law firm is disputing wrongdoing.

“We knew eventually we were going to get real embarrassed about this, and the time has arrived,” says attorney Steve Joseph.

“We screwed up.”

The issue is over lawsuits that the firm filed to collect from A-OK customers who defaulted on payday loans. The suits were supposed to have been filed under a payday loan statute. Instead, Joseph says they were filed under a worthless check statute. The bank commissioner penalized A-OK $20,000 for the mistake.

Harris doesn’t have a comment on the situation.

“It’s understandable how this would happen unless you look at this from hindsight,” Joseph says. “The attorney responsible for it isn’t with us any longer.”

He says attorney Michael Priddle was fired over the incident.

“Under the law, he was our employee at the time, and we’re responsible …,” Joseph says.

When contacted, Priddle said, “This is the first I’ve heard of the lawsuit.”

When told Joseph’s account, Priddle said, “Interesting.”

He declines to talk about it, he said, until he can look into the suit.

“The short version is I probably need to go pull that filing first,” said Priddle, who did not call back.

Joseph says that for insurance reasons, the lawsuit has to proceed. He says the firm will pay a deductible, which is probably about $10,000, and then the insurance company will work out a settlement with A-OK.