A former cocktail waitress at Pure nightclub, who claims she was attacked by the son of a Caesars Entertainment Corp. executive, on Friday filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against two veteran attorneys in federal court.
Michelle McKenna filed the complaint against longtime Las Vegas lawyers David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld.
She had hired the law partners to represent her in a personal injury case against Patrick Jones, Pure and Caesars. The complaint says she was attacked on Jan. 4, 2009, by Jones inside Pure, where she worked as a cocktail server.
The lawsuit identifies Jones as the son of car dealer Fletcher “Ted” Jones Jr. and former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of communications and government relations for Caesars Entertainment.
McKenna is suing Chesnoff and Schonfeld on claims of legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and deceptive trade practices. According to the suit, Chesnoff had conflicts of interest when his firm was hired to represent McKenna in the personal injury case.
Chesnoff “is believed to have an undisclosed financial interest in Pure,” according to the lawsuit, and also was representing Pure executive Steve Davidovici in a tax evasion case at the time.
According to the malpractice suit, the defendants’ errors forced McKenna to settle for $225,000 from the homeowners insurance of Jones Blackhurst — less than 5 percent of McKenna’s actual damages.
“We did not represent this woman when she agreed to a settlement, which she did with counsel of her choice,” Chesnoff said.
The law firm of Cohen & Padda helped McKenna settle her personal injury case. She had hired the firm to replace Chesnoff’s firm on the case “after four and a half years of unexplained delays” and “effectively no progress,” according to the malpractice lawsuit, which claims an expert hired by Cohen & Padda valued her damages at $10 million.
Jones Blackhurst could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
According to McKenna’s lawsuit, she began working for Pure Management Group as a cocktail server around 2002 and transferred to Pure nightclub when it opened. Pure Management Group fired her in November 2012 “due to physical and cognitive disabilities resulting from Jones’ attack,” according to the lawsuit.
Jones Blackhurst had arranged reservations for her son and several friends at Pure for Jan. 3, 2009, according to the lawsuit, and authorized his bill to be charged to Caesars.
At about 1 a.m. the next day, Jones asked McKenna to sit on his lap, and when she “refused his advances and turned to leave, Jones pulled her into his lap,” the lawsuit says.
McKenna jumped and turned around to face Jones before he “lunged at her, placed his hands around her throat, and began choking and shaking her,” according to the lawsuit. “Struggling against Jones and unable to breathe, Michelle blacked out and fell.”
The lawsuit claims Pure and Caesars tried to help Jones escape civil and criminal liability for his actions.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710.