A founder and owner of the former Jerome-Duncan Inc. Ford dealership in suburban Detroit is entitled to $4 million in total damages from his daughter and successor as majority owner, a Macomb County, Mich., judge ruled last week in a civil lawsuit.
Circuit Judge David Viviano entered a judgment Friday, March 7, awarding Richard Duncan $4,006,734.22 in damages from Gail Duncan, adding $100,000 in sanctions plus $740,000 in interest onto a $3.1 million jury verdict.
Jerome-Duncan, long one of the nations largest Ford dealerships based on new-vehicle sales, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005 after defaulting on a Ford Motor Credit loan. Its assets were acquired in 2006 by Suburban Collection of Troy, Mich.
A bitter family dispute between the elder Duncan and Gail, who had owned a majority of the company from 1993 until its dissolution, led to the 2003 lawsuit.
Jurors found in the February civil trial that Gail had violated a non-compete agreement at the time of the ownership transfer when she later acquired two Mazda dealerships and a former Mel Farr Hyundai/Kia dealership. They also found she had committed shareholder oppression and still owed her father money on the stock transfer that made her a majority owner.
We believe there are some issues from the case that could be appealed if we choose, said suburban Detroit attorney Keith Jablonski, who represents Gail Duncan and husband Shashi TejPaul. Thomas Schehr, an attorney for Richard Duncan and wife Barbara, said the plaintiffs also have to consider whether to appeal.
All damages and fees in the judgment are against Gail Duncan only. Both sides have 21 days to consider filing an appeal.