Now this is breaking news. By now, surely you know the story of Bob and Jane Cull, which has been around for a decade -- when the twosome sued Perry Homes, claiming their house in Mansfield went to hell shortly after they bought it for $233,730 in 1996. At almost every turn, folks found Perry Homes liable for damages -- including the arbitrator who said they deserved $800,000 (one quarter of which was to pay for "mental anguish").
But home-builder and Swift Boater Bob Perry and Perry Homes refused to pay up; so too Warranty Underwriters Insurance Company. And the Supreme Court of Texas -- every single member of which got some dough from Bob Perry -- likewise refused to rule in the couple's favor: In 2007 it vacated the arbitration award and kicked it back to the lower court, which is where it landed a few weeks ago.
But about an hour ago, a Tarrant County jury told Perry to pay up, ruling that Perry Homes owes the Culls $7 million in actual damages and $40 million in punitive damages. Warranty Underwriters is on the hook for $4 million more in punitive damages.
"Justice has been done," says Dallas attorney Van Shaw, who's representing the couple. "I didn't think it was too much, certainly. I thought it was fair and the right result."
I asked him how the Culls are taking it. "I'm sure they're a little bit shell-shocked," he says, pointing to the fact that Bob Perry spent $1 million to fight the $800,000 arbitration ruling alone.
But just because the jury ruled for the Culls doesn't mean they're going to see a penny any time soon. Even after the court signs a motion for judgment, Perry will more than likely file an appeal with the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. And should Perry Homes lose there, look for another trip to the Supreme Court of Texas -- the third, counting an earlier visit before abitration.
"I think they'll see payment, eventually," Shaw says. "I guess Perry Homes should be careful -- it got what it asked for."