A Hamilton County Circuit Court jury awarded $20,599,000 in compensatory damages and $11,500,000 in punitive damages to the developer of the proposed Canyon Ridge Resort on Lookout Mountain earlier this month.
The court ordered an additional $4,470,628 in prejudgment interest raising the total award to more than $36,500,000 for the plaintiffs. The original claim was filed in September 2011. The trial began on April 21, 2015 and lasted six weeks, making it the longest civil trial in Hamilton County’s history.
The defendants in the case were Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., and one of its former employees, Edmund J. Wall of Atlanta, Ga.
The developers of Canyon Ridge Resort, a planned hotel and convention center located on Lookout Mountain in Walker County, Ga., accused the defendants of breaching various contractual and fiduciary duties by creating and promoting a development project that competed with the development project Canyon Ridge Resort had hired the defendants to help promote.
Robert Manley of national trial firm McKool Smith, PC, filed the case. The McKool Smith team also included attorneys Gary Cruciani, John Campbell, Rosemary Snyder, Avery Williams, Charles Fowler, Meredith Elkins and Travis DeArman, along with local attorney William Colvin of William G. Colvin, PLLC.
“My team, including the numerous professionals on the development team, Scenic Land investors, and I are grateful for McKool Smith’s commitment to the case,” said plaintiff Duane Horton, president of Scenic Land Company, LLC. “The attorneys have been a pleasure to work with over the past four years ....”
Horton also applauded the jury’s dedication to the trial and the strong showing of support from the community.
“The jury spent over six weeks actively listening to a very complicated and detailed case,” Horton explained. “We are all very pleased with the verdict, and hope the outcome of this case will prevent others from engaging in such unfair business practices.”
“I would also like to thank the community for such a strong showing of support during this entire ordeal. The amount of encouragement that we have received has been outstanding,” said Horton, who noted that with the conclusion of the case, his efforts would be focused on the continued development of Brow Wood on Lookout Mountain, as well as the proposed Hillocks Farm project in Hixson.
Source: Derryberry Public Relations