Thompson Coe Partner Gary Pate Wins Complete Defense Verdict in Bench Trial Involving Real Estate Dispute
Feb 11, 2021
Gary Pate, a partner with Thompson Coe just received a great judgment via a Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law which found that his clients were not liable on a $130,000 promissory note. Mr. Pate’s client, a young business man who flips properties, owed Plaintiff $55,000 on a joint investment on a property rehab project. Gary’s client took a while to pay the money back due to a sluggish real estate market. Each time Plaintiff saw the client, he would threaten him and tell him he owed $20,000 more. Finally, after receiving several threats and intimidation, Plaintiff pressured Gary Pate’s client to sign a promissory note for $130,000 on this $55,000 debt. During the bench trial which was conducted by Zoom, Gary Pate’s client testified that he felt pressured to sign the promissory note and that he had already paid back the $55,000. After the evidence, the Court asked the parties to submit briefing on whether the promissory note was valid due to the extremely high interest of 120% and other issues with the handwritten promissory note. Mr. Pate also argued that the interest rate was in violation of usury laws. After argument and briefing, the Court rendered judgment in favor of Defendants and found that the promissory note was defective because it did not specify the consideration, the agreed upon rate of return, identification of the property or the principal amount investment. Because the lawsuit was premised entirely upon the promissory note being valid, the Court gave judgment in favor of Defendants and ruled that Defendants did not owe Plaintiff any money.