JPMorgan Chase & Co. will probably face a judgment of no more than $90 million in a lawsuit claiming mismanagement of an estate that initially brought a jury verdict of $8 billion in punitive damages.
A Dallas jury in September awarded excessive punitives and duplicate actual damages, the widow and children of Max Hopper, a former American Airlinesexecutive, said in court filings.
Lawyers for Stephen Hopper and Laura Wassmer asked a Dallas probate court to limit punitive damages to them and their father’s estate to about $70 million, down from a total of $6 billion awarded by the jury. Hopper and Wassmer also asked for $3.9 million for losses and attorneys’ fees.
The widow, Jo Hopper, asked the court to lower her award to $14.4 million, according to a filing from her lawyers disclosed Friday.
The final award could go even lower. JPMorgan is seeking to reverse the entire judgment.
The dispute over the estate began with the death of Max Hopper in 2010. Hopper, who pioneered a reservation system for the airline, died unexpectedly with assets of more than $19 million but without a will, family lawyers said.
JPMorgan was hired to administer the estate and the bank should have divided the assets and released them to Jo Hopper and her stepchildren, according to the lawsuit.
Instead, her lawyers said in a statement, “the bank took years to release basic interests in art, home furnishings, jewelry, and notably, Mr. Hopper’s collection of 6,700 golf putters and 900 bottles of wine. Some of the interests in the assets were not released for more than five years.’’