Biggs loses suit against Wells FargoA jury of nine ruled in favor of Wells Fargo bank in a lawsuit involving property damaged from when the downtown historic Elk’s building in Dickinson caught fire in 2007, according to court documents.
A jury of nine ruled in favor of Wells Fargo bank in a lawsuit involving property damaged from when the downtown historic Elk’s building in Dickinson caught fire in 2007, according to court documents.
The jury found Scott Biggs, a tenant of the bank’s second floor at the time of the fire who was suing the bank, to be 50 percent at fault, according to their verdict.
The trial began Monday at the Stark County Courthouse and the jury read their verdict Thursday evening.
The fire was reportedly determined to have originated in the basement of the Elk’s building. A former contractor had used a cutting torch to remove metal rods and smoldering slag led to the fire, according to a previous Press article.
Firefighting efforts led to flooding and several other issues in the adjacent Wells Fargo building, according to the article.
Biggs’ property was reportedly removed from the bank and was damaged. The suit filed against Wells Fargo was to cover the damage.
“I can tell you that he asked the jury to award him $620,000,” said Lawrence Klemin, an attorney for Wells Fargo.
The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half, Klemin said.
“Unfortunately for Mr. Biggs, he had let his property insurance lapse prior to the time of the fire, and I think the jury may have agreed that he shouldn’t have done that,” Klemin said.
“The position with Wells Fargo was that (Biggs’) lease with Wells Fargo required him to maintain property insurance on his business personal property; that he didn’t do that, that the insurance that he had been carrying would have covered his loss, and it wasn’t the fault of Wells Fargo that he let his insurance lapse.”
The jury found Wells Fargo to be 20 percent at fault and “others” to be 30 percent at fault, according to their verdict.
“He certainly has the right to appeal,” Klemin said. “I think the jury reached the right result in this case.”
Attempts to reach Biggs and his attorney, Irvin Nodland, were unsuccessful Friday.