Evans Trial: Clear & convincing evidence of fraud?

By Amy McCullough
MVT attorney Bill Brabec made an unspecified motion on which Judge Olack declined to render judgment until the end of the trial. Brabec said the Bank of Forest had failed to present clear and convincing evidence regarding the claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

Evidence shows that “the title companies, when they issued a commitment, did not intend for it to be a representation of fact,” and conditions in the document specified it was not a representation of title, he said.

Also, evidence was not presented that MVT intended to defraud anybody, Brabec said. There was no proof of agency in regard to Charles Evans Jr., who was acting on his own behalf, contrary to the interest of MVT and its parent company.

Bank of Forest attorney William Liston III said there was proof of agency. MVT authorized Evans to do certain things “which is where the fraud came from,” he said.

The title company’s commitment, which is a document issued prior to a title policy, represented the status of title to the bank before it made its loan. The title company clearly intended for people to rely on its documents, Liston said.

Under Mississippi law, a party does not have to prove intention of fraud but ignorance of the truth, and MVT employees testified they did not know if the information used from Evans’ research was true or false, Liston said.

Brabec said that allowing or permitting an employee to do something does not equate investing authority in that person, and the bank, not Charles Evans Jr., closed the loan that went to his brother Chris. The Bank of Forest was in the best position to prevent the fraud, he said.

Trial will continue until Friday (March 4).

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