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An Unusual Response to a Billion Dollar Award: It’s Too Much!

Published December 13, 2017 by Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC

A jury ordered JP Morgan Chase to pay $8 billion to the offspring of an American Airlines executive for mismanaging their inheritance, but the kids think it’s excessive. The bank expects the entire matter to be overturned by the Dallas, Texas court system.

The man who created the seat reservation system for American Airlines, Max Hopper, died unexpectedly and without a will in 2010. The bank, JP Morgan Chase, was asked to divide his estate, valued at $19 million. According to an article in The Daily Mail, “Children of dead American Airlines executive want LESS money,” Hopper’s wife Jo brought a lawsuit claiming that the bank took too long to release the assets.

This fall, a jury ordered the bank to pay $8 billion in punitive damages, $2 billion each to Mrs. Hopper, her stepchildren Stephen Hopper and Laura Wassmer, and the Hopper estate. But Hopper’s children said they only wanted $74 million in damages.

JP Morgan says Hopper’s heirs want the damages reduced to about $74 million because they think the $8 billion figure is excessive. It would be the ninth largest verdict in US history.

Jo Hopper’s lawyers contend that JP Morgan Bank took years to release basic interests in art, home furnishings, jewelry, as well as Mr. Hopper’s collection of 6,700 golf putters and 900 bottles of wine.

Some of the assets weren’t released for more than five years.

JP Morgan is adamant that it did nothing wrong and believes the ruling in Dallas, Texas will be overturned.

JP Morgan said: “The law and evidence do not support any claim against JP Morgan, much less the unprecedented multi-billion-dollar punitive damage award, which the heirs have already admitted is unconstitutionally excessive.”

The bank’s position is that the real issue is whether or not heirs have the right to blame an independent administrator that wants the court to intervene on how assets are distributed, when the heirs don’t agree on the distribution.

Reference: Daily Mail (November 20, 2017) “Children of dead American Airlines executive want LESS money.”

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