Written By: Josh Davis Law Group
Read The Full Article: here
The Davis Law Group is proud to announce that a unanimous jury returned a verdict in their client’s favor. In November 2011 Dr. Tinyan Okunbo, a Nigerian citizen, purchased two armored Mercedes Benz S550 sedans from Texas Armoring Corporation. Texas Armoring Corporation, also known as “TAC,” is based in San Antonio and sells armored vehicles to largely foreign markets.
The owner of TAC, Trent Kimball, is a local celebrity, having been featured on a reality TV show, “Family Armor” and appearing on numerous news programs. During the second week of trial Mr. Kimball and TAC were prominently featured in the Business Section of the San Antonio Express News.
Following delivery of Dr. Okunbo’s 2 Mercedes Benz armored vehicles, Dr. Okunbo attempted to export them to Nigeria. Unfortunately the vehicles were stopped by U.S. Customs and ultimately seized for over 1-year. Unbeknownst to Dr. Okunbo and his freight forwarding agent, TAC changed the vehicle identification numbers (“VINs”) for the Mercedes, leading to their detention and ultimately their seizure.
After much effort, Dr. Okunbo ultimately convinced the government that he was the victim of the VIN changes by TAC. After paying a $25,000 fine and thousands more in storage and detention costs, Dr. Okunbo’s Mercedes Benz were finally released to him. But only after TAC changed the VINs on the vehicles back to their original VINs as issued by Mercedes Benz. During the course of the litigation TAC attempted to blame a business that TAChas routinely does business with, Limousine Manufacturing Corporation, or LMC. LMC actually bought the base S550s and issued the new VINs for the vehicles.
At trial TAC argued that the VIN changes were legal and that it did not need to inform Dr. Okunbo of the VIN change. TAC also accused Dr. Okunbo’s freight forwarding agent of negligently identifying the shipment to Customs, leading to the vehicles’ detention. Finally, TAC accused Dr. Okunbo of “nefarious” conduct, alleging that he was not the intended user of the vehicles and that was the basis for Customs’ seizure.
Following a 2-week trial, a unanimous 10 person jury (2 jurors were lost during the litigation) returned a verdict of over $192,000, including all of Dr. Okunbo’s actual damages and attorney’s fees. With prejudgment interest and court costs, the Plaintiff expects to obtain a verdict of over $210,000. The jury assessed that only 25% of the fault for shipping the vehicles was the result of Dr. Okunbo and his freight forwarding agent’s conduct, and assessed TAC as 75% responsible. LMC was held not liable.
Dr. Okunbo, in response to Bexar County’s verdict, praised the civil justice system of the United States and the process of obtaining a resolution in a business dispute— “I have practiced medicine in the United States for decades, and have never been a person involved in a trial or a lawsuit before this. I loved this country before, but this experience with these dedicated jurors wanting to do the right thing was amazing.”
TAC is represented by Carl Kolb in San Antonio. Dr. Okunbo was represented at trial by Josh Davis and Katie James Ray of the Davis Law Group, and Jorge Herrera of the Herrera Law Firm of San Antonio. The Davis Law Group is a civil litigation boutique with offices in Houston and San Antonio serving Texans in consumer and personal injury litigation.