BEAUMONT – After nearly three years of litigation, a Port Neches couple received a favorable verdict in their lawsuit against Compass Bank, with jurors awarding around $370,000 in total – half of which was allotted as attorney fees.
Seeking up to $1 million in damages, Everett and Jan Collier filed a petition and request for an injunction against Compass on Dec. 29, 2015 in Jefferson County District Court.
According to the original petition, on Feb. 14, 2002, the Colliers entered into a loan agreement with Community Bank for the amount of $74,800 for their Port Neches property. BBVA Compass then purchased Community and the couple subsequently fell behind in repaying the loan.
In July 2013, the Colliers entered into an agreement modifying the loan. Four months later, the bank notified them that their payments were insufficient and the loan was still in default.
The couple alleged Compass continuously misrepresented the terms of the agreement, accusing the bank of breach of contract and deceptive trade practices.
The case was called up for trial on Oct. 8 and ended four days later with jurors finding Compass failed to comply with the July 2013 agreement.
For failure to comply, jurors found that $72,995.45 would compensate the couple. The jury also found Compass engaged in deceptive acts and unconscionable action, holding the bank 70 percent responsible.
The jury awarded the Colliers $4,000 a piece for their past mental anguish, declining to award them damages for their future mental anguish or for past and future damage to their credit score.
Jurors also found Compass acted knowingly, awarding the couple $105,000.
A total of $185,000 was awarded as attorney’s fees, which includes representation if Compass appeals all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.
Lastly, jurors found as of Oct. 8, $76,961.10 is still owed on the note.
Court records show Compass filed a counterclaim in January 2016, asserting the Colliers breached their contract by refusing to perform their obligations under the terms of the note.
The Colliers are represented by Beaumont attorney Mark Sparks of The Ferguson Law Firm and Michael Downey of Mostyn Law in Houston.
Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, presided over the trial.
Case No. E-197975