Equity Financial claimed it was owed for loan services
By: Ashley Mastandrea
Special to Missouri Lawyers Weekly
Equity Financial Resources Inc. filed suit against its former clients Kevin and Julia Struss and their business, Struss Farms, claiming they owed it for services provided to help them secure a loan of more than $6 million.
The defendants argued Equity Financial Resources, of Gladstone, violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act while helping them find a loan for their farm operations in Kansas.
Plaintiff’s attorney Mark J. Murphy, of the Murphy Law Firm in Liberty, said the defendants terminated service with his client and obtained financing on their own. The plaintiff claimed it was owed $105,000 plus attorney’s fees and interest.
The defendants made a counterclaim, claiming they should be refunded $39,750 previously paid to the plaintiff for preparing loan documents as defendants alleged that the charges violated Kansas law.
The parties settled out of court for $75,000, with the Strusses paying.
Kenneth E. Cox, of the McClelland Law Firm in Liberty, represented the defendants. He said the plaintiff acted as a loan broker, and the fees it collected were contingent on securing the defendants a loan. He said his clients went against the plaintiff’s advice and kept their banking business with their current lender, rather than go along with the prepared plan.
The defendants filed a complaint with the Kansas Office of the Securities Commissioner alleging the plaintiff was operating in violation of the act. Under the settlement terms, the defendants submitted a letter to the commission to notify it of the settlement.
“Our best day at court would be $105,000 plus fees,” Murphy said. “$75,000 was substantially close to our best day, without the expensive trial.”
“My clients obtained financing elsewhere and would rather be done with it than drag it out.” Cox said.
¦ Breach of Contract
¦ Venue: Clay County Circuit Court
¦ Case Number/Date: 12CY-CV04660/June 15, 2013
¦ Caption: Equity Financial Resources Inc. v. Kevin Struss, Julia Struss, Struss Farms
¦ Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Mark J. Murphy, The Murphy Law Firm, Liberty
¦ Defendant’s Attorney: Kenneth E. Cox, McClelland Law Firm, Liberty