Judge denies post-trial motions in Magna Bank case

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 25, 2008, 12:39pm



Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel J. Stack has denied all post trial motions in the case of Magna Bank v. Thompson Coburn.

Rex Carr, the attorney for Magna Bank, argued that the jury's $3.6 million award to them against the law firm Thompson Coburn was not supported by evidence presented at trial.

Carr asked Stack to grant a new trial on damages.

"The court now having had the opportunity to review the motions, memoranda, replies, attachments and part of the trial record/judge's notes hereby denies the Plaintiff's Motion for a New Trial on the Issue of Damages," Stack wrote.

Stack continued, "The parties have endured an extremely long process of arriving at this point in the case and the court will not further extend the delay by awaiting the opportunity to set out the reasoning behind these rulings.

"Suffice it to say that most of the reasoning was expressed during the original findings and rulings by this court and the arguments and additional filings did not convince this court to modify those rulings," Stack concluded.

In its lawsuit, Magna alleged the law firm committed legal malpractice by providing bad advice on how to transfer structured settlement trusts to another financial institution.

Stack held a hearing July 24 to consider all post-trial motions.

"The amount of damages awarded bears no relationship to the evidence introduced in this case and is inadequate to compensate plaintiff for the losses it has sustained and is not the result of a compromise on the question of liability," Carr argued.

Carr added that the amount awarded by the jury was "taken out of thin air" and was not related to anything presented in the case.

Carr has argued Magna lost $9,707,146.63 to settle lawsuits arising from structured settlements that were stolen by businessman James Gibson and spent $2,081,906.28 to defend those cases.

After deliberating nearly eight hours over two days, a Madison County jury awarded Magna Bank (now Regions Bank) $3,654.606.40 on March 28.

The jury's award was actually more than $11 million, but was reduced on the question of "mitigation of damages" by the bank.

Thompson Coburn was represented by Carrie Hogan and Morgan Hirst of Jones Day in Chicago. Mike Nester of Belleville also represented Thompson Coburn.

Thompson Coburn also lost their post trial motion. They asked Stack to grant a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

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