A jury has awarded a St. Louis woman $77 million in damages following a long-awaited legal battle with Wells Fargo Bank.
It all started in 2012, when Barbara Morriss, 78, filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo after the bank had allegedly mismanaged her family’s trusts.
Morriss, a resident of Olivette, took the case to a St. Louis County Circuit Court late on Monday.
Morriss alleges that Wells Fargo infringed its “fiduciary duty,” which resulted in the loss of million dollar transactions from two family trusts, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Tuesday.
According to reports, Burton Douglas Morris, a Clayton-based financier, is the son of St. Louis resident Barbara Morriss, in which she was the beneficiary and co-trustee of both his lost trusts. However, Burton’s financial practices have been called into question, including accusations of charmingly misleading and defrauding investors back in 2012.
Doing a bit of digging, specifically on Google News, yields a wealth of information on Burton’s legal past. In addition to the fraud accusations, Burton had subsequently filed for bankruptcy after being at the end of one’s rope with over $32 million in debt.
Moreover, Burton had evaded millions in taxes, which landed him a five year sentence in a St. Louis federal prison. The tax fraud had the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service flocking to his arrest. He was sentenced on November 22, 2013.
Now, shifting back to Burton’s mother, the 78-year-old St. Louis woman also stated that her knowledge of the lost trusts came after her credit card was declined.
According to CBS News, Mrs. Morriss’ attorney Jim Bennett, made a statement on the case, saying as follows.
“We think that the jury ruled for Mrs. Morriss because the evidence demonstrated the bank failed to live up to the most basic obligation to take care and safe-keep the assets of the trust that were placed with the bank.”
Furthermore, as the St. Louis Business Journal reports, the high award of $77 million can be broken down into $32 million in punitive damages, while the rest, $45 million, is from actual damages. This is just one of many lawsuits filed against Wells Fargo, including a fraudulent activity complaint in California, reported by the Inquisitr about a week ago.
In height of disenchantment in the St. Louis courtroom, a representative of Wells Fargo declined to comment on the case. But not too long after the verdict had reached the local press in St. Louis, a Wells Fargo spokesman named Vince Scanlon gave a statement via email, saying the following.
“We are disappointed with the verdict and will be considering all of our legal options as we move forward.”
[Photo Courtesy Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]