Thomas v. Bobby D. Associates (Published Memo): $49,000 in fees for a $7,000 recovery is excessive. The Tyler court orders a $24,000 remittitur.
This is a collections case. Thomas agreed to buy six tracts of land in Van Zandt County. He made the payments for a while, but couldn’t keep them up. Bobby D repossessed the tracts but still sued for the full amount on the notes, plus interest. In total, Bobby D sought about $80,000 in damages. The jury only awarded $7,000. That’s because the trial court didn’t go for the Bobby D’s double-dipping. The trial court instructed the jury to base their award on the amount due on the notes less the current fair market value of the repossessed tracts.
In light of the award, the Tyler court couldn’t stomach the big fee award. Bobby D had asked for too much, had let the case linger on the docket for seven years, and had multiple attorneys get up to speed on the case only to hand it off to someone else. The Tyler court makes Bobby D an offer: agree to a $24,000 reduction in the fee award, or have the fees wiped out and sent back to the trial court for a do-over.