On Friday a Yazoo County Circuit Court jury rendered a $1.165 million verdict in Winstead v. Simmons, et al. On Monday the jury returned a punitive damages verdict for another $100,000. The punitive verdict will allow the plaintiff to recover attorney’s fees.

Plaintiff alleged that he was the victim of a corporate freeze out in a catfish farming operation. Plaintiff also asserted claims for fraud and defamation. Ray Winstead was the plaintiff. The defendants were Harry Simmons and Chat Phillips.

The trial lasted two weeks with Judge Janie Lewis presiding. Dorsey Carson and John Lassiter with Burr Forman in Jackson represented the plaintiff. John Donaldson and Jay Barbour of Yazoo City represented the defendants.

My Take:

This sounds like a big win for the plaintiff. Cases involving shareholder disputes can be interesting and involve a lot of money.

An often over-looked facet of a punitive damages claim is the fact that a punitive verdict allows the plaintiff to recover attorney’s fees. The attorney’s fees for a two week trial of a shareholder dispute case with regional law firm lawyers are going to be well into six figures.