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Renters Choice, Bagwell Settle $1.5-2 Mil. Suit

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The Bagwell Agency here and Renters Choice reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit filed by the shop alleging unpaid bills from its former client.
Details of the agreement were not available at press time.
The lawsuit in state district court in Dallas accused Renters Choice of failing to pay $1.5-2 million in outstanding fees and media expenses owed to Bagwell in the wake of the agency's Jan. 31 dismissal.
Prior to the settlement, agency owner John Bagwell said his shop would not survive the account loss if the fees were not paid.
"If we're not able to resolve it soon, if they don't ultimately pay us at least a major portion of what they owe us," said Bagwell, "we will probably be out of business." He said the "amicable" settlement allows his shop to remain open.
Tom Hughes, an attorney for Dallas-based Renters Choice, confirmed the settlement but declined further comment.
John Bagwell went to court before Renters Choice named Levenson & Hill of Dallas the new agency on its $15 million advertising account. The decision to litigate came after both sides came to an impasse in negotiating their split, according to Bagwell.
Bagwell alleged the client failed to pay media bills dating from January. Among the fees Bagwell sought payment for were retainers the agency would have earned through the end of March, since the agreement between the two parties called for a 60-day termination period regardless of the Feb. 1 contract expiration, Bagwell said. He also said the two sides disagreed over compensation issues surrounding "proprietary" information.
The Bagwell Agency lost its largest account when Renters Choice departed, forcing the owner to lay off 15 people. Bagwell declined to reveal the number of staff members left at his 24-year-old shop. The agency reported 30 full-time employees in 1996.