Jury Trial

Unanimous Jury Verdict for Blake & Pulsifer

Overview

Attorneys Dale B. Rycraft Jr. and Paul A. Liberatore successfully defended a breach of contract action in a 3 day jury trial in the Maricopa County Superior Court. Plaintiff alleged a breach of contract in connection with the repayment of a loan secured by real property.  Plaintiff also alleged that Blake & Pulsifer’s client was not entitled to credit for services he provided in connection with the transaction.  Throughout the three-day jury trial, Dale and Paul argued and proved that the loan had been paid in full . In less than one hour of deliberations, the Jury returned a unanimous verdict for the Defendant.  The Court awarded attorney’s fees to the client.  This article was originally published in The TRIAL REPORTER of Central and Northern Arizona.

Prologue

Prior to May 2009, the Defendant (“Blake & Pulsifer’s Client”) had performed construction work on several homes that Plaintiff owned, for which he was paid. The Plaintiff had previously extended several loans to the Defendant, which Defendant repaid on time and pursuant to the parties’ agreements. On October 8, 2009, the Defendant signed a promissory to Plaintiff for $65,000 and provided a deed of trust. On January 10, 2010, the Defendant signed a second promissory note to Plaintiff for $45,000. On September 8, 2010, the Defendant signed a third promissory note to Plaintiff for $20,000.

Trial

The Plaintiff had alleged that the Defendant breached the contract when he failed an refused to repay the funds loaned to him. The Defendant denied liability, advancing the defense that Plaintiff had been fully paid from the sale of the four properties. Defendant alleged that he agreed to provide the labor and materials necessary to prepare Plaintiff’s four properties for resale, in exchange for a 50/50 split of the profits realized upon resale of each property. Defendant also alleged that because the real estate market in 2009 and 2010 was in a severe downturn, Plaintiff’s four properties were not selling quickly. Additionally, Defendant alleged that instead of waiting for his share of the profits from each property, the Plaintiff agreed to “front” defendant a fixed amount for each property, in exchange for a promissory note, to be offset by the proceeds from the sales of each property as they were sold. Defendant argued that Plaintiff had paid $172,000 for the four properties, and the total sales proceeds from the four properties were $465,000. Defendant also argued that Plaintiff received $119,000 from his fire insurance policy on one property to rebuild after it burned down. Additionally, Defendant argued Plaintiff realized a total gross profit, before the cost of labor and materials provided by Defendant, of $293,000, plus $119,000 received to repair the fire damage.

Verdict

By stipulation, nine jurors deliberated for little more than one hour. The jury found for Defendant unanimously.