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BREACH OF CONTRACT Defendant reneged on deal to make loans After 16 days of trial, a Dallas real estate management firm and its clients received a $30 million verdict against a company that promised to make $160 million in loans but came up with only $6 million. In 1997, plaintiff Basic Capital Management Inc arranged for loans for its clients with Dynex Commercial Inc. Dynex encountered financial difficulties and said it would not provide further funding. Basic Capital and the affected clients sued Dynex and related entities for breach of contract. The defendants argued release and counterclaimed for fraudulent inducement and other grounds. The Dallas County jury reached its verdict on Feb. 11. Basic Capital Management v. Dynex Commercial, No. 99-4094-E Court: 68th District Court, Dallas County Plaintiffs’ Attorney(s): J. Robert Arnett II, Michael L. Gaubert and John A. Sopuch III, Sopuch, Arnett, Higgins & Gaubert, Dallas; Bart Higgins, Sopuch, Arnett, Higgins & Gaubert, Chicago; Eric V. Moye, Vial, Hamilton, Koch & Knox, Dallas Defense Attorney(s): Charles L. Perry, Andrews & Kurth, Dallas; Cathy Altman, C. Shawn Cleveland and Bruce Collins, Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, Dallas; T. Rick Frazier, Law Office of T. Rick Frazier, Dallas; Deborah G. Hankinson, Law Offices of Deborah Hankinson, Dallas; Jeffrey W. Hellberg, Arter & Hadden, Dallas; Charles M. Sims, LeClair Ryan, Richmond MOTOR VEHICLE Dump truck went out of control on highway, striking car A woman who had to undergo 25 operations on an arm that was nearly severed when a dump truck rammed the side of the car she was in was awarded just over $1 million by a Dallas County jury on Feb. 23. Katie LaRoe, a 54-year-old teacher, died of unrelated health problems the day before she was to undergo yet another reconstructive surgery on her crushed elbow. Her medical bills were $253,000. The truck driver, who was unlicensed, fled the scene but later turned himself in. The truck’s owner, Alliance Co., and principals of the company argued that they were not liable for negligent entrustment because they had entrusted the truck to an independent contractor, who then entrusted it to one of his employees. LaRoe v. Davidson, No. DV99-441 Court: 116th District Court, Dallas County Plaintiffs’ Attorney(s): Steven E. Aldous, Braden, Varner & Aldous, Dallas; Andy Payne, Howie & Sweeney, Dallas Defense Attorney(s): Jeff Forrest Smith, Jeff Forrest Smith P.C., Dallas PREMISES LIABILITY Ladder slid on marble floor, painter plunged 20 feet A painter who plunged about 20 feet when his ladder slid on a marble floor was awarded $857,122 by a Harris County jury on Feb. 12. Bozo Droca, 44, was hired by Fatima Rauf to perform a job at the home of Munaiza Siddiqui in Houston. Siddiqui allegedly assured Droca that Rauf would hold the ladder so it remained upright on the slippery floor. Droca testified that while he worked, he heard Rauf in another part of the house. After the ladder slipped and he fell, he was unconscious on the floor for more than two hours before the defendants called for help. He suffered memory loss, a broken left wrist, a bruised right wrist and injuries to his back and shoulder. Droca sued for negligence. Both defendants denied that they were Droca’s employer. Droca v. Rauf, No. 2001-55986 Court: 234th District Court, Harris County Plaintiffs’ Attorney(s): Neal H. Paster, Law Office of Neal H. Paster, Houston Defense Attorney(s) Altaf Adam, Houston; Nina A. Bujosa, G. Patrick Collins & Associates, Houston PREMISES LIABILITY Shopper slipped on wedding veil lying in resale store aisle A customer who slipped on a white wedding veil that lay on a white tile floor at a resale shop was awarded $59,650 in damages for her fractured kneecap. After the accident on Sept. 27, 2002, Beatrice Rodriguez, 57, a security guard, sued Family Thrift Center on Long Point Drive in Houston, alleging that it was negligent to leave clothing on the floor of an aisle where customers walk. The store asserted that an employee performed a floor check every hour and that the veil was not on the floor for more than 10 minutes. On Feb. 13, a Harris County jury found Family Thrift Center 70 percent negligent and Rodriguez 30 percent. Rodriguez v. Youth Educational Services Inc., No. 03-02497 Court: 157th District Court, Harris County Plaintiffs’ Attorney(s): Melissa Ann Moore, Moore & Associates, Houston Defense Attorney(s): Rayborn C. Johnson Jr., Montgomery REAL PROPERTY Dam altered natural runoff, causing land to flood A Jasper County landowner whose neighbor built a dam on the boundary of their property, causing it to flood, will recover $15,750 under a Jasper County jury’s verdict delivered Jan. 27. The dam altered the natural water flow off plaintiff Donald Larsen’s land, causing permanent damage from standing water to six acres of improved pasture. The neighbor, Carl Bellotti Jr., claimed that it was Larsen who altered the water flow. The land was in a designated flood plain and witnesses testified that it had been swampy for many years. Larsen v. Bellotti, No. Cause No. 23,826; Court: 1st District Court, Jasper County Plaintiffs’ Attorney(s): William S. Morian Jr., Seale, Stover, Bisbey & Morian Defense Attorney(s): Richard N. Evans II, Beaumont The verdicts and settlements above are reported and written by VerdictSearch Texas . Send verdicts and settlements to [email protected] Additional verdicts can be found in VerdictSearch Texas or at VerdictSearch.com, affiliates of Texas Lawyer.

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