Jury awards Cherokee group $22 million in lawsuit against lawyer

Chris Rizo Aug. 21, 2008, 4:58pm

B. Michael Chitty

KAUFMAN, Texas (Legal Newsline)-A Texas jury has awarded the Sovereign Cherokee Nation Tejas more than $22 million in damages in their lawsuit against Dallas attorney Frank Hernandez.

The Cherokee Nation sued Hernanadez, who served as the tribe's attorney general, in 2005 over a plan to build an Indian casino near Terrell.

The tribe accused Hernandez of raising money from investors on the tribe's behalf to buy land for a casino the tribe says it neither knew about nor wanted.

Kaufman County Judge B. Michael Chitty found that Hernandez, among other things, had converted property belonging to the group and breached a fiduciary duty in an attorney-client relationship.

The $22 million award against Hernandez includes compensatory and punitive damages.

The Sovereign Cherokee Nation Tejas is not a federally recognized tribe nor is it recognized by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

The 422nd District Court jury returned its verdict Friday.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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