Jury awards retired Akron businessman over $4.5 million in damages

Posted April 17, 2018 at 4:20 pm

On Thursday, April 12, a federal jury returned a favorable verdict for retired Akron businessman John Lucken.

The jury found Heritage Bank of Spicer, Minn., guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation and awarded Lucken with $4 million in punitive damages, $500,000 for fraud, and $45,000 for a bank statutory violation committed by Heritage Bank.

In 2011, Lucken, a longtime supporter of the Akron community, was asked by a Heritage Bank loan officer to help Akron’s car dealership, Dirks Motor Co. The jury found that the officer intentionally gave false information to persuade Lucken into loaning $500,000 – half to settle a debt owed by the car dealership and half to “back up” the bank’s financing of the dealership. If those conditions were met, Heritage Bank promised that it would provide a loan to Dirks Motor to support the dealership’s continued operation.

Lucken agreed to help, but the bank never loaned the funds to Dirks Motor. The car dealership, which had been in business since prior to World War II and had been owned and operated by three generations of the Dirks family, failed and was forced to close its doors.

“I’m glad a jury of my peers vindicated my actions and held the bank accountable for lying to me,” Lucken said. Des Moines Davis Brown Law Firm attorneys, Stanley J. Thompson and Jason R. Lawrence represented Lucken.

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