Frank Azar’s trial against former head of class action division begins


Frank Azar, whose countless commercials and ubiquitous billboards have made him the region’s best known lawyer, will begin a trial Monday with millions of dollars at stake.

But rather than represent the plaintiff, his firm will be the plaintiff.

In February 2020, Franklin D. Azar & Associates sued a former class action lawyer at the firm, Ivy Ngo. It accused Ngo of using confidential information to recruit its clients and other Azar & Associates lawyers to a competing law firm after Ngo was fired from the Azar firm.

In October of that year, Ngo countersued, claiming Azar and his firm had spread lies and defamed her as part of “a smear campaign” aimed at destroying her career.

A jury chosen Monday must decide both matters: whether Ngo committed a breach of contract, and whether Azar, along with Azar & Associates, committed defamation. Azar believes Ngo owes about $90,000 for the breach and should have to pay his attorneys’ fees. Ngo believes Azar owes $3 million to $3.5 million for the defamation and should pay her attorneys’ fees.

The 10-day trial in Denver District Court will offer a peek behind the doors of Azar & Associates, the powerhouse personal injury firm that Azar started in Aurora in 1987.

But jurors in the case will not hear some of the more salacious allegations that Ngo has leveled against Azar. Judge David Goldberg has barred Ngo’s lawyers from accusing Azar of abusing drugs and alcohol in his office, exhibiting “erratic behavior,” making improper payments to clients, and committing sexual, racial and pregnancy discrimination.

Ngo was the head of the class action division at Azar & Associates between January 2018 and January 2020. Azar claims she was then rightly fired for trying to lure lawyers and clients away from the firm; Ngo says she was wrongfully fired for looking at other jobs.


Source link