Monthly Archives: December 2016

A. Lewis Ward Recognized in Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts

Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts

Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts and Settlements for 2015 ranked A. Lewis Ward the ninth top verdict in contracts litigation, a judgement totaling $3,039,960

HOUSTON — Recently announced Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts and Settlements for 2015 ranked A. Lewis Ward the ninth top verdict in the area of contracts litigation. Ward represented clients who were induced into a real estate transaction by fraud. The Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts report listed the jury award at $888,537, which includes only the damages resulting from fraudulent inducement.

Combined with damages for breach of contract from another defendant, who settled before trial, the total award is $3,039,960.

Proving fraud by inducement is a difficult legal task. This case was very challenging due to the complexity of relationships and trouble obtaining documentation.

“Despite the number of witnesses, and several defendants representing multiple separate legal entities, we were able to uncover and present credible documentary evidence and testimony to make believers of the jury,” said A. Lewis Ward.

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The details of this case portray a complex and well-conceived fraudulent scheme, which Ward used to sway the jury’s view. Juries are known to be skeptical of a plaintiff’s own negligence. Uncovering a paper trail that revealed intentional, coordinated acts of deception by the three defendants was key in establishing a sympathetic view of the plaintiffs.

Texas real estate law provides for “common law fraud,” but proof of “statutory fraud” is required in order for the plaintiff to receive payment of legal fees. Ward successfully forced one defendant into a settlement over breach of contract and that defendant was compelled to testify against the other defendants. This witness was key in proving the high standard of statutory fraud.

Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts and Settlements

The Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts and Settlements report is a special publications of Texas Lawyer, previously a weekly legal newspaper and now a primarily web-based news publication. Texas Lawyer is a member of the American Lawyer Media family of publications and the American Lawyer Media Law.com network of sites. Texas lawyer continues to publish Texas Lawyer monthly magazine, the Texaslawyer.com online edition, the In-House Texas Monthly, CLE seminars, and various books, practice guides, directories and e-newsletters.

About A. Lewis Ward

Lewis Ward graduated from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1977 and to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas in 1988. Over four decades in law, he has handled thousands of legal matters and distinguished his legal practice by helping clients achieve millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. He is an active member in the civic and business community, having served on boards of directors for the Robert Cummings Memorial Scholarship Fund and Ensource Corporation; as a member of the Enterprise Bank Advisory Council; and as vice president and president for the Southwest Houston Chamber of Commerce and Success Connect Chapter of Business Networking International.

A Tale of Fraud, Deception and Legal Justice

A. Lewis Ward Earned Texas Lawyer Recognition for a Top Contract Dispute Verdict in Texas

In all areas of the law, litigation is best avoided. It is time consuming, expensive, stressful, and unfortunately, exceedingly challenging for attorneys and clients alike. Sometimes, however, justice is possible only by taking a case to trial. Last year, A. Lewis Ward obtained a judgment of $3,039,960, delivering relief to deserving clients and ranking as the ninth contract dispute verdict for 2015 in Texas, according to Texas Lawyer, a weekly legal publication.

This distinguished accomplishment would not be possible without the most important component of Mr. Ward’s law practice – his clients. Ward shares this victory with those who place their trust in him and his extensive experience as a personal injury and business law attorney.

The suit in question involved Mr. Ward’s clients and three opposing individuals, all of whom were “in” on what would turn out to be a deal gone very wrong. Out of respect, real names of the clients and the opposing parties are not disclosed in this tale.

The client, Sally’s corporation, owned a piece of property worth about $1.2 million. For various reasons, Sally decided to sell the property. A potential buyer, Eric, came along with his acquaintance, Leroy. Eric wanted Leroy’s business experience and financial backing, in order to ensure that an agreement could be made and that Sally was comfortable with the risk involved. Leroy, showing a bank statement with a $450,000.00 balance and a loan pre-approval letter for $7.5 million dollars and boasting a very high net worth, convinced Sally to form a contract of sale with Eric.

Needless to say, the agreement was not upheld by Eric and Leroy. In fact, “Leroy” was not really Leroy, but Leroy’s brother, Bob. With Leroy and Eric’s knowledge, Bob had impersonated Leroy, in order to sway Sally’s decision to do business. Imagine that! It turns out that Bob had a prior criminal conviction for fraud, leading him to impersonate his brother to avoid discovery of his criminal background. Eric was friends with brothers Leroy and Bob and knowingly participated in Bob’s deception, with the real Leroy’s endorsement.

Successful Contract Dispute Verdict

Ultimately, Eric settled the claims against him for breach of contract, but Leroy and Bob fought until the very end. Ward showed the jury that Leroy and Bob were guilty of fraud in inducing Sally’s corporation to enter into a contract with Eric for his purchase of the real estate. Without the prior criminal conviction of Bob being allowed into evidence, Ward still proved that Sally and her company were fraudulently induced to form the contract with Eric.

The sad truth is, people like Eric, Leroy, and Bob are out there. They commit fraud, scheme and scam, and do their worst to cheat good, hard-working people out of time, assets, and money. In A. Lewis Ward’s Legal Blog, examples are reported of similar instances and hard lessons learned. As a reminder, one can never be too careful. But, when the stakes are high and a mistake is made, A. Lewis Ward seeks justice for clients who deserve nothing less. Occasionally, something rewarding like ranking as a top contract dispute verdict in Texas Lawyer occurs as a reinforcement for the work and the people Ward represents.