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Press Release

Jury Awards $20.8 Million Construction Defect Verdict Against Dallas Homebuilder Bishop Abbey Homes, Owner Nathan Halsey

PR Newswire

ROCKWALL, Texas, April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A Rockwall County jury has awarded a $20.8 million verdict against a Dallas homebuilder for performing substandard work on a local family's home and refusing to accept responsibility.

Dallas attorneys Van Shaw of the Law Offices of Van Shaw and Dan Hagood of Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith & Uhl won the March 31 verdict favoring homeowners Bryon and Paige Hale in Rockwall's 439th District Court. The verdict includes separate findings that Bishop Abbey Homes Ltd. and company owner Nathan Halsey engaged in deceptive trade practices and were grossly negligent. Jurors also found that Mr. Halsey's actions were "unconscionable."

According to the lawsuit, the defendants were aware that the site of the Hales' future Highpoint Lake Estates home had significant foundation defects before construction began. The Hales said Mr. Halsey later promised that his company would take responsibility by fixing the structural defects that arose after construction, but he reneged and refused to repair the problems.

Jurors found that the defendants engaged in a "false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice" and were responsible for correcting the damage and the corresponding loss in home value.

The $20.8 million verdict includes damages for the cost of repairs, lost value and additional penalties based on Mr. Halsey's actions and the defendants' "grossly negligent" conduct, including violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The jury award includes attorneys' fees for the Hales' legal team.

"A finding of gross negligence is a very high bar to achieve in Texas courts, and it was the right verdict in this case," says Mr. Shaw, lead trial attorney. "Homeowners often are at a disadvantage when dealing with unscrupulous builders and contractors. We hope this verdict sends an important message that contracts and warranties cannot simply be ignored."

In 2010, Mr. Shaw and Mr. Hagood obtained a $58 million construction defect verdict against Perry Homes. In September 2013, the two earned a $4 million wrongful death verdict against JPMorgan Chase.

The Law Offices of Van Shaw is a civil litigation firm dedicated to achieving justice on behalf of the catastrophically injured or killed, residential homeowners, individual consumers, small businesses, and major corporations. The founder of the Law Offices of Van Shaw, Mr. Shaw has successfully represented more than 1,000 homeowners in major construction defect claims involving improper design and construction. For more information, please visit http://www.shawlawoffice.com.

Mr. Hagood is a co-founder and the Managing Partner of Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith & Uhl LLP, a civil trial and criminal defense law firm. Mr. Hagood is a former high level prosecutor who has tried more than 250 civil and criminal jury trials. He is regularly listed among the best lawyers in Texas and has represented companies, corporate executives and professionals in numerous high-profile cases. The firm's website is http://www.fhsulaw.com.

For more information, please contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or Robert@androvett.com.

SOURCE Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith & Uhl LLP

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