Article from the Alexander City Outlook Weekend Addition, August 15-16, 1992. Volume 99. NO. 163
Widow wins $500,000 claim against company
A Tallapoosa County jury this week awarded $500,000 to an Alexander City resident in a decision against a Birmingham company. “I almost fainted. It was the first time I ever cried in public,” said Bernice White, the 61-year-old widow who was awarded the amount Wednesday. “We didn’t know what to expect – this has been in court since 1990.”
The verdict came after evidence in a three-day trial showed that an agent for First Capitol Corporation made misrepresentations to Mrs. White.
Claims made in securing financing for a second mortgage on Mrs. White’s home included selling her a policy of credit life insurance in which the agent named himself as beneficiary.
“The outcome was justified,” Mrs. White said, she has been in court over the problem since the life insurance company refused to pay the policy on Mrs. White’s husband who died in 1990, she said.
First Capitol Corporation denied that Charles Harper, the man who secured the second mortgage, was an agent of their company.
“They said he was a broker, not an agent – but he represented himself as an agent,” she said.
“This company came into this county with a crooked plan to obtain second mortgages on individuals’ homes and take elderly people to the cleaners,” according to Kenneth Ingram, one of the attorneys in the case. Hopefully, this will serve notice to finance companies that they cannot mislead people and charge exorbitant interest rates when (they) are dealing with people’s homes.”
“We were enticed to take the loan; we didn’t really want to take it,” Mrs. White said.