Law Firms

Ex-Baron & Budd Lawyer Awarded $8.8M for Firm’s Statements About Finances

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A former lawyer at Baron & Budd has been awarded $8.8 million based on his claim that the law firm lured him to work there by misrepresenting its financial condition.

A Dallas County jury found that Baron & Budd and firm founder Russell Budd had made negligent misrepresentations to the lawyer, Gary Cruciani, Texas Lawyer reports. Cruciani told the publication he feels “vindicated” by the verdict.

“I figured the jury would arrive at the right result, and I’m pleased that they did,” he said.

Cruciani left McKool Smith as a shareholder principal to work at Baron & Budd in 2006. He is now back at McKool as a nonshareholder principal, his lawyer told Texas Lawyer in a prior article.

Cruciani had alleged Budd misrepresented the firm’s financial condition and compensation system, and didn’t tell him about “bad blood” with firm founder Fred Baron, who sued the firm in August 2006.

According to Texas Lawyer, the jury found negligent misrepresentation in:

• A projection that 2006 would be a better year for the firm than 2005.

• Budd’s claim that his relationship with Fred Baron was very good and they remained friends.

The jury found no fraud by the law firm, however. It also rejected counterclaims against Cruciani, including a claim that he was not promoted to partner “because of his interactions with female employees.”

Lawyers for Budd and the law firm told Texas Lawyer that they don’t believe the evidence supports the judgment and they will be filing the appropriate motions.

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