David Bagwell is a real estate developer who was working to build three luxury subdivisions in Tarrant County, Texas. Following the financial crisis of 2008, Mr. Bagwell entered into modification negotiations with his bank, BBVA Compass, to refinance the loans which were funding the new developments. In the course of the negotiations, Compass repeatedly told Mr. Bagwell that his loans would be renewed. However, after secretly negotiating with one of his competitors, those same loans were sold off at a discounted rate. A short time later, the competitor foreclosed and Mr. Bagwell was forced into bankruptcy.
Our challenge in this case was convincing the jury that not only had Compass Bank committed fraud, but the manner in which they dealt with our client cost him significant financial damages. As a real estate developer, a delay of days – and in some cases, hours – can amount to significant losses. These damages included the loss of equity value in unsold lots in Mr. Bagwell’s development, as well as lost profits from other business opportunities.
The bank misrepresented what they were planning to do with our clients’ loans, which we believed constituted fraud. Furthermore, the deception perpetrated by the bank cost our client potential business. In order to demonstrate our argument to the jury, we scoured bank documents, including emails and business agreements that proved the bank was publicly telling our client that his loans were going to be renegotiated, while internally, they were actively trying to sell off those same loans.
After five days of testimony, the jury deliberated for only three hours before coming back with a $98 million verdict in favor of our client. Through diligent research and dedication, we not only enabled him to recoup his losses, but we also helped to send a clear message to other banks that such deceptive business practices would not be tolerated.
This verdict became one of the top 10 verdicts in Texas and the 22nd largest verdict in the country by National Law Journal and VerdictSearch’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2017.