A Texas jury awarded over $60 million to investors in an oil and gas breach of fiduciary duty case.
The plaintiff investors claimed that their business partners gave themselves credit for financial contributions that were not actually made and excluded the investors from a lease acquisition project when the defendants learned that it would be extremely profitable.
The case is Tiburon Land and Cattle LP and Trek Resources on behalf of The Three Finger/Black Shale Prospect Partnership v. Sarah Kate Jones, as Independent Executrix of the Estate of Thomas J. Taylor, deceased, et al.
The plaintiffs presented evidence that although they shared in the first 30,000 acres of leases that the project acquired, they were excluded from a later acquisition of 16,000 acres. According to the plaintiffs, the defendants, including Abilene oil man Thomas J. Taylor, Kerwin Stephens and Chester Carroll, used a second set of accounting books to hide profits and make it appear as if they had made contributions that were not actually made by them.
The jury awarded $24 million in actual damages and $9 million in exemplary damages to one set of plaintiffs, and $28 million to another group of investors who intervened in the case.
The jury found that the fiduciary breaches by Stephens constituted theft, strengthening the total verdict amount.