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Law firm secures $98 million verdict

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Wise County law firm helped a Dallas developer win a $98 million verdict against BBVA Compass Bank this week.

A Dallas jury on Wednesday found that BBVA Compass Bank misled Dallas developer David Bagwell during the loan renewal and modification negotiations for three luxury subdivisions in Colleyville.

Bagwell was represented by Boyd, Powers and Williamson of Decatur.

The lawsuit stemmed from Bagwell’s efforts during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and real estate downturn to modify financing for three subdivisions: Broughton, Whittier Heights and Old Grove. Lead trial lawyer Derrick Boyd presented evidence that a BBVA Compass executive repeatedly misled Bagwell into believing his loans were being renewed. Based on those promises, Bagwell did not seek other financing.

Jurors heard testimony that the bank was simultaneously negotiating in secret to sell the loans at a substantial discount to a competing developer. Once those loans were acquired, the new developer foreclosed on Bagwell’s three properties, forcing him into bankruptcy, his lawyers said.

“Emails from Compass connected the dots for this jury,” Boyd said in a press release. “We were able to show that while Mr. Bagwell was actively trying to work with the bank to keep these developments operating, Compass was misleading him and working behind his back to sell his debt to a competitor.”

Jurors awarded $37.86 million to Bagwell and $20.16 million to related business entities. The jury also returned $40 million in punitive damages.

It took the jury three hours to reach a unanimous verdict.

According to a report in Friday’s Dallas Morning News, a spokesperson for BBVA Compass said the bank “strongly disagrees with the jury’s findings in this case and will pursue all actions to remedy what it feels is an unfair verdict.”

In addition to Boyd, the trial team included Kristy Campbell and Matt Meyer of Boyd, Powers and Williamson; appellate counsel Jeffrey Levinger PC of Dallas; and attorney Jeffrey T. Hall of Dallas. Two related entities intervened in the lawsuit and were represented by Peyton Healey of Powers Taylor LLP of Dallas.

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