On Thursday, April 12, Davis Brown attorneys, Stanley J. Thompson and Jason R. Lawrence scored a major victory on behalf of their client, retired Akron businessman, John Lucken.
The jury found Heritage Bank of Spicer, Minnesota, guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation and awarded Lucken with $4 million in punitive damages, $500,000 for fraud, and $45,000 for a bank statutory violation committed by Heritage Bank.
In 2011, Lucken, a longtime supporter of the Akron community, was asked by a Heritage Bank loan officer to help Akron’s car dealership, Dirks Motor Co. The jury found that the officer intentionally gave false information to persuade Lucken into loaning $500,000 - half to settle a debt owed by the car dealership and half to “back up” the bank’s financing of the dealership.
If those conditions were met, Heritage Bank promised that it would provide a loan to Dirks Motor to support the dealership’s continued operation. Lucken agreed to help, but the bank never loaned the funds to Dirks Motor. The car dealership, which had been in business since prior to World War II and had been owned and operated by three generations of the Dirks family, failed and was forced to close its doors.
“I’m glad a jury of my peers vindicated my actions and held the bank accountable for lying to me,” Lucken said.
The case was covered in the Des Moines Register, Business Record, and ABC9 News in Sioux City, among others.