F&F, LLC v. East West Bank
BC462714, Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
FBBC obtains $38,914,610 jury verdict for family owned business against East West Bank
In what can be considered a David and Goliath lender liability battle, Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis, LLP (“FBBC”) on behalf of developer, F&F, obtained a $38,914,610 jury verdict against East West Bank (“EWB”). FBBC charted a strategy that was designed to organize and simplify the complicated facts so that the “heart” of the case was immediately apparent in trial. However, to get to the trial, FBBC navigated through a myriad of obstacles designed by EWB to avoid that trial.
EWB counter sued F&F alleging its own damages in the approximate amount of $12 million dollars. FBBC successfully eliminated the Bank’s counterclaim and after a three week trial, it prevailed on behalf of F&F, obtaining a convincing jury award.
Before trial, EWB refused to settle for any amount greater than $1.2 million. The principal owners of F&F are Cambodian refugees who successfully escaped the Khmer Rouge with virtually no money or assets and through hard work in the United States, began to build a family nest egg. They developed a small retail shopping center, only to have it all taken away as a result of the actions of EWB.
Specifically, on June 14, 2007, F&F, obtained a $34,850,000.00 construction loan from East West Bank to help finance construction of the Victoria Promenade Project, a retail center located in Rancho Cucamonga. Thereafter, F&F contended, among other things, that East West Bank failed to honor its obligations and commitments to them by wrongfully siding with the contractor, making false representations, and committing other wrongful acts. F&F claimed that East West Bank’s wrongful conduct caused it to lose its property and years of hard work. F&F prevailed at trial, obtaining a jury verdict in the amount of $38,914,610. This verdict was comprised of $16,914,610 in compensatory damages plus $22,000,000 in punitive damages. Thereafter, FBBC assisted F&F in obtaining an additional award from EWB of over $2 million in attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses.