PHILADELPHIA – A political campaign has began legal action against a defendant who it hired as a political consultant and now says is acting in bad faith by refusing to write off a professional debt in excess of $7,000.
The Friends of Eric Reid of Philadelphia and Eric Reid of Chicago filed suit on Feb. 3 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against Michael Diamond (doing business as Diamond Political Consulting) of Yardley.
“On or about Oct. 5, 2009, [Eric] Reid declared his intention to run for Representative in the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the 182nd District. The election was to be held on May 18, 2010. Reid assigned Jesse M. Cohen, Esq. as treasurer of the campaign, and a campaign known as ‘Friends of Eric Reid’ [Campaign] was formed. On or about Oct. 5, 2009, the Campaign entered into an agreement with Michael Diamond d/b/a Diamond Political Consulting [Diamond] to perform certain work for the Campaign. Pursuant to the agreement, Diamond was to be paid a total of $30,000.00 for his work through April of 2010,” the suit says.
“The agreement was and is silent on the issue of payment in the event the Campaign was terminated prior to the May 2010 Election. The agreement was and is silent on the issue of any personal liability by Reid for the debts of the Campaign. Prior to May of 2010, Reid decided to drop out of the race and terminate the Campaign. At the time the Campaign was terminated, it had assets of $1,689.95. At the time the Campaign was terminated, Diamond claims to have been owed a balance of $7,042.75. The Campaign did not have funds sufficient to pay Diamond the money he claims to have been owed. Despite numerous good faith efforts by the Campaign to have Diamond reduce or write off this debt, he refused to do so,” the suit continues.
As a result of the debt claimed by Diamond, the Campaign has had to remain active, file reports and account for the balance in its accounts, and been unable to terminate and file a final campaign finance report. Taking the agreement at face value, it would have terminated on April 18, 2010. Any legal claim for alleged breach of the agreement would run from that date.
Under Pennsylvania law, the statute of limitations for breach of contract is four years.
The plaintiffs say the time period to file a claim for breach of contract expired on April 18, 2014, that Diamond has never filed such a claim to date, that Diamond was costing the campaign time and money by acting in bad faith, in refusing to settle or write off the alleged debt owed despite the long-expired statute period.
Furthermore, Diamond allegedly admitted on numerous occasions that he would continue to refuse to settle or write off the alleged debt, knowing it would cause inconvenience and aggravation to Reid and the Campaign.
The plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory relief order that the statute of limitations on any claim for breach of contract is deemed dismissed with prejudice; that under the doctrine of laches, no monies are owed to Diamond as a result of his failure to enforce his rights during the required time period; that Diamond is forever stopped from asserting any further claims for reliefs against plaintiffs; that the Campaign, Friends of Eric Reid, may terminate, and in so doing may declare that no monies are owed to Diamond; that the Campaign may file all necessary closing paperwork with the Commonwealth, and in so doing the Campaign need not list any monies claimed to be owed to Diamond; that the Campaign may distribute the balance of Campaign funds to The Philadelphia Democratic City Committee, as permitted by Pennsylvania election law; and that Diamond shall pay the costs and attorney’s fees incurred by plaintiffs in seeking relief from this court, as Diamond willfully and purposefully refused to settle or write off the claimed debt despite numerous requests to do so and despite knowing that the statute of limitations had expired on his breach of contract claim.
The plaintiffs are represented by Jesse M. Cohen and Scott E. Diamond of Sacks Weston Diamond, in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170104972
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org