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Justices uphold decision to throw out jury award against Trustmark

JACKSON — The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld its decision to throw out a $3.72 million jury award against Trustmark National Bank in a lawsuit brought by a construction firm.

The Clarion-Ledger reports the construction company had accused the bank of improperly giving the state $1 million from the firm’s account.

In 2009, A Hinds County Circuit Court jury returned the award in favor of Roxco, Ltd. in a breach-of-contract lawsuit.

The Supreme Court initially threw out the verdict in December. On Thursday, the justices denied the company’s request to review the case again.

The case centered on whether Roxco defaulted on four state projects totaling $36.6 million. Roxco maintains it didn’t.

Trustmark contended Roxco defaulted on the state contracts, was sent default letters and its CEO admitted it knew the default letters were sent but never advised the bank or the state of anything to the contrary.

Roxco had a contract with the state in the 1990s for construction projects on college campuses.

In November 1998, a bonding company for Roxco, without authority from the company, wrongfully sent out letters incorrectly reflecting that Roxco could not complete its construction projects, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said the state received four of the letters, one for each of the jobs. At the time, Roxco was actively working on the projects, the lawsuit says.

The state wrongfully stopped paying Roxco. Thereafter, the state and the bonding company prevented Roxco from completing the projects, according to Roxco’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit goes on to say the state never declared the company was in default of the contacts.

On April 12, 1999, the state treasurer demanded Trustmark redeem certain securities Roxco owned and transfer the funds into the treasurer’s state Trustmark account, the lawsuit says.

Roxco objected. The bank said it acted properly because Roxco was in default on the projects.

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