Texas billionaire ordered to pay $21.3M in dispute over oilfield company sale

A judge has ordered a North Texas billionaire to pay $21.3 million to a former owner of Midland, Texas-based Yellowjacket Oilfield Services LLC in a contentious dispute over the sale of the company.

Grayson County District Judge Jim Fallon entered the final judgment on May 16 against Denison businessman Lacy Harber, who agreed to purchase Yellowjacket. After an eight-day trial, a jury delivered a 10-2 verdict on April 5, awarding $18.4 million to Gerardus “Jerry” Smith, a previous owner of the oilfield company. The judge added prejudgment interest, and attorneys’ fees, including amounts for any future appeals to the award.

John Scully, founding shareholder of Cooper & Scully PC, served as Smith’s attorney.

Smith initially sold a major share of Yellowjacket to a man named Tommy Robertson in exchange for payments over three years. Harber, through his company LDJH LLC, later purchased Robertson’s stake in Yellowjacket, agreeing to assume the future payments due to Smith, which Robertson still owed pursuant to the original agreement.

Within a month of executing the transaction documents, Harber and LDJH sought a declaratory judgment against Robertson and Smith, asking the court to determine how much LDJH owed Smith. Harber also alleged breach of contract and fraud. He later dismissed his longtime friend, Robertson, from the suit.

Smith countersued Harber and LDJH for breach of contract and fraud, asking for the $18.4 million owed to him. The jury agreed with Smith and found that both Harber and LDJH LLC, were in breach of contract. The jury did not find fraud by any party, nor did it find breach of contract by Smith.

The case is LDJH LLC v. Gerardus Smith, case number cv-15-1228 in the 15th District Court in Grayson County, Texas.

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