$6 Mil. Texans Award Is Said to Be Set
Curley told Credit Union Times that the judgment came through during the last week of June. A spokesman for Bill Brewer, Curley's attorney, could not confirm any details of the judgment. A search of civil cases with the 192nd Civil District Court in Dallas County, Texas did not turn up the case involving the $6.3 million judgment.
In October 2008, Curley's attorneys filed an action in the same district court against Texans Insurance Group for failing to honor a July 2008 arbitration ruling. Arbitrator Susan Soussan ruled that Curley was fired without reasonable or justifiable cause and ordered Texans Insurance to pay him $350,000 in back pay, benefits and pre- and post-judgment interest. Curley was also supposed to be reinstated but never resumed his post at the insurance CUSO.
"We were enthusiastic about wrapping this up quick," Curley said of the July 2008 arbitration ruling. "[Texans] kept delaying it. It's taken about 10 months to get to this point. Right now, I'm waiting on the check."
When asked whether the credit union had agreed with the judgment, Texans Credit Union spokeswoman Shalissa Clary wrote in a July 28 e-mail, "As a matter of policy Texans Credit Union does not comment on pending litigation."
Curley's case goes back to January 2007 when $1.7 billion Texans Credit Union bought the Curley Insurance Group LLC and six other companies from Curley for $19 million, according to the July 8 final award arbitration hearing letter. Curley was also entitled to a $21 million contingent right to an earn-out to be paid by Texans Insurance.
According to an employment agreement, Curley was to continue working with the new CUSO from Jan. 1, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2009. A clause limited Texans Insurance from terminating him before the employment agreement except for willful or negligent conduct harmful to the company, participation in felony acts or breach of contract. According to the arbitration hearing letter, Curley was allegedly terminated for several reasons including insubordination, failing to set up "enhanced" benefit packages, discussing personnel matters and the alleged unauthorized issuance of certain insurance policies.
"From the testimony and the demeanor of the witnesses at the arbitration hearing, it became obvious that a personal animus was building up between Texans and Curley," Soussan said. "Curley had just sold the business he had built over an 18-year period. Texans took over a business with which it was not familiar. More of an effort should have been made by Texans to work with Curley and vice versa."
Curley said "there's no celebrating" about the judgment, but he said it offered him "real vindication." He said he is confident the decision is "final and binding with really no room to maneuver."
"This is a company I built over 19 years. My family worked there. It's hard to take on a $2 billion company with a bevy of in-house lawyers. Justice delayed is not justice denied. I feel very vindicated," he said.
Curley said a trial is set for September to recoup $24 million from Texans for the sale of his company, Curley Insurance Group.