In today’s litigation roundup, we have a recent final judgment plus three new lawsuits in Dallas County, Sherman federal court and Marshall federal court.
Parties involved include a payday lender, a large Dallas-based homebuilder, one of the world’s largest smartphone makers and the maker of a popular carbonated water that I haven’t seen in Whole Foods for weeks (sigh).
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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s $1.5M in the Bank
Lawyers for Megatel Homes are awaiting a finding of facts and conclusions of law from a Dallas court after receiving a recent final judgment that ordered the Dallas-based homebuilder to pay the Bank of Utah $1.5 million.
The final judgment, entered July 12 by Dallas County District Judge Eric Moyé, follows a bench trial in his court in February between Megatel, Bank of Utah and Megatel Chief Executive Armin Afzalipour. The dispute involves a private jet that Megatel leased from Bank of Utah from 2015 to August 2018, when Megatel stopped paying the lease and abandoned the aircraft in Mexico after inspections revealed that numerous repairs were needed.
Initially, Bank of Utah was the defendant in the suit, but the case turned in the bank’s favor after it filed counterclaims, the bank’s lawyers said, and it would go on to win every motion filed in the case. During discovery, the bank discovered that Azalipour and Megatel set up a shell and empty subsidiary of Megatel Homes to be on the lease for the alleged purpose of shielding the real Megatel Homes from liability.
A finding of fact by Judge Moyé is expected by Aug. 11. Lawyers for Bank of Utah include Perrin Fourmy and Jeff Lowenstein of Bell Nunnally & Martin. Lawyers representing Megatel and Azalipour’s are Victor Vital and Chisara Ezie-Boncoeur of Barnes & Thornburg.
The cause number is DC-19-11277 in Dallas County’s 14th district court.
Think Finance Sues Insurer
Payday lender Think Finance and several affiliated companies sued Argonaut Insurance Co., the insurer of Think Finance’s officers and directors, alleging it failed to defend the lender in three adversary proceedings connected to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Think Finance’s origins led it to become what many considered to be a predatory lender by allegedly operating a fraudulent internet lending business that generated billions of dollars in revenues through a so-called “rent-a-tribe” scheme that exploited Native American tribes by loaning money to those with bad credit at triple-digit interest rates.
Since it emerged from its bankruptcy, which was filed in 2017, Think Finance has not conducted business nor does it intend to, the July 25 lawsuit against Argo says.
The proceedings that the defense claims Argo either failed to defend, failed to pay or failed to respond to include:
- A counterclaim and cross-claim filed by Victory Park Capital Advisers and related entities in an adversary proceeding tied to Think Finance’s bankruptcy;
- A Louisiana World claim asserted by the unsecured creditors committee in Think Finance’s bankruptcy proceeding against the non-debtors and others, alleging they received and participated in fraudulent transfers, and;
- A tax claim asserted first by the unsecured creditors committee and later the Think Finance litigation trust seeking damages against affiliate TF Holdings for retaining a tax benefit that was allegedly owed to Think Finance.
Dallas partner David Taubenfeld of Haynes and Boone filed the Think Finance entities’ lawsuit. No one has appeared for Argo yet.
The cause number is DC-22-08589 and has landed in Judge Staci Williams’ court of Dallas County’s 101st district.
Samsung, Coca-Cola Sued for Patent Infringement
Dallas lawyers at Norton Rose Fulbright and Frisco lawyer Ron Burns have sued Samsung and Coca-Cola/Topo Chico, respectively, in two separate patent infringement lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas.
In a July 29 lawsuit, Norton Rose Fulbright client Smith Interface Technologies alleges Samsung infringed upon patented technology developed by inventor Michael Smith that involves advanced input and output techniques for mobile user interfaces.
In a July 28 lawsuit, Frisco lawyer Ron Burns alleges on behalf of plaintiff Lilly Pathway that Topo Chico Minerals and its parent, Coca-Cola Co., infringed the plaintiff’s Patent No. 7, 715,543 through their use of Adobe Creative Cloud for their branding creation, design and collaboration for their products, merchandise and advertising materials.
Smith’s lawyers include Brett Govett and Daniel Leventhal of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Dallas and Houston offices as well as Brian Buss and Michael Benefield of Austin firm Buss & Benefield. The cause number is 2:22-cv-290 and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap in the Marshall division.
Burns of the firm Fresh IP is the only lawyer on file for Lilly Pathway. The cause number is 4:22-cv-652 and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in the Sherman division.
No lawyers have appeared for Samsung or Topo Chico/Coca-Cola.