Joe P. Asher
A Harlan County man has been awarded $620,000 in a judgement against Morgandi LLC (limited liability corporation) and Antony Saragas.
Monte Seth Carmical, of Coldiron, filed a complaint against Home Federal Bank, Morgandi and Anthony Saragas on Jan. 21 2010. The complaint alleged breach of fiduciary duty, breach of good faith and fair dealing, interference with prospective contractual and business relation and opportunity. Home Federal Bank faced an additional accusation of bank negligence.
According to court documents, Carmical attempted to secure a loan through Home Federal Bank for the purchase of Sunshine Storage, a storage unit business located on U.S. 421 in Harlan. Saragas was an employee of Home Federal Bank at the time, and was in charge of Carmical’s loan application.
The complaint also states that during the course of attempting to secure the loan, Carmical “disclosed confidential financial information to Home Federal Bank, and its employees and in particular to Saragas, concerning the purchase of the Sunshine Storage property.”
After two days of testimony, Judge James Bowling granted motions for directed verdicts on Tuesday, which released Home Federal Bank from any liability in the matter and cleared the bank of any wrongdoing.
With Home Federal Bank no longer involved, the remaining parties presented closing arguments Thursday. Susan Lawson, attorney for Antony Saragas and Morgandi, reminded the jury it was the plaintiff that had to prove its case.
“The plaintiff bears the burden of proof,” said Lawson. “If he doesn’t swing the scales of justice to his side, then he loses.”
Lawson also cast doubt on Carmical’s honesty, arguing that his tax returns showed significant differences in actual assets and what was reported in the loan application. According to Lawson, this showed “a pattern of not being truthful.”
Lawson called into question Carmical’s understanding of the business process.
“It’s obvious he doesn’t have a good understanding of finance or business,” said Lawson.
Carmical’s attorney Darrell Saunders argued that his client was treated unfairly by Saragas.
“What really happened here is simple,” said Saunders. “Saragas winds up with the property.”
According to Saunders, inconsistencies in the loan file shows Carmical was treated unfairly.
“If Seth (Carmical) had withdrawn the loan as they would have you believe, why would he be in Middlesboro talking to Saragas’s higher ups about it?” asked Saunders.
Saunders also argued that Morgandi, the company formed by Saragas with partner Mike Anderson, was formed solely for the purpose of purchasing the Sunshine Storage property, and that Saragas “stonewalled” the loan so Morgandi could purchase the property instead of Carmical.
“There is fair and unfair in life,” said Saunders to the jury. “There is right and there is wrong. Only you can right this wrong.”
After a little over two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a judgement for the plaintiff in the amount of $620,000.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com