An appeals court has overturned a $7.1 million judgment awarded a Fort Worth neurosurgeon in 2011 who sued a development partner for fraud when the developer failed to complete a planned neurological hospital near downtown.
The 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth also ruled that Dr. George Cravens could not collect another $3.4 million in additional damages and attorneys fees, saying Cravens lacked the legal standing to do so. Cravens was awarded the money following a month-long jury trial in Tarrant County.
Cravens sued Richard Myers, chief executive officer of Realty Capital Partners in Dallas, and two other company executives, saying the developers misrepresented their qualifications and ability to find financing for a proposed $28 million neurological hospital on Summit Avenue. Myers appealed the lower court judgment.
Carter Hampton, Cravens’ lawyer, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
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This is a classic business dispute that never needed to go to court.
Richard Myers, Realty Capital Partners president
Cravens, founder of the Center for Neurological Disorders in 1992, began exploring the hospital development with Realty Capital Partners in 2007 and formed a partnership with the developer in 2008. Willmar Investments, a limited partnership Cravens created to own and hold property in trust for his children, conveyed the property for the project, court papers show.
Construction on the acute surgery center at 1319 Summit Ave. was to begin in 2009. But by November of that year, Cravens tried to remove Realty Capital as the project’s general partner when he learned a construction loan was denied, and sued, according to the court’s ruling.
“The parties intensely dispute the quality, quantity and necessity of [Realty Capital Partners’] subsequent efforts to raise equity, secure financing and procure construction drawings for the proposed hospital and their representations about those efforts,” Appeals Court Justice Bill Meier wrote.
Architectural work had been completed and the project was approved by the Downtown Design Review Board in August 2009. Those records say the project included a four-story hospital and a three-story parking garage on adjacent property, that according to court records was leased.
In a statement Monday, Myers said he is thankful for the appeals court decision, but contended if the project was allowed to proceed, it would have been completed.
“This case has been on appeal since 2011, and I am deeply appreciative that the Court of Appeals has corrected the mistakes made in the trial court,” Myers said. “The allegations asserted in the lawsuit were not even remotely true. This is a classic business dispute that never needed to go to court.”