Law

Justices wipe $228,500 verdict against Cash America Pawn in malicious prosecution lawsuit

HOUSTON – The First Court of Appeals recently wiped a $228,500 verdict against Cash America Pawn in a malicious prosecution lawsuit.

The lawsuit was brought by Ronald Alonzo, a former Cash America employee, back in 2017 and also named Stephanie Fields and Robert Elder as defendants.

Court records show Alonzo was an assistant manager at a Katy Cash America. In May 2016, he helped an employee who was also a customer and wanted to save her loans and layaways. Alonzo agreed to execute a series of transactions for her, on the condition that no money or merchandise would leave the shop.

Alonzo was terminated as a result and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was brought in. In January 2017, the case against him was dismissed. A few months later the record was expunged.

In turn, Alonzo sued Cash America for malicious prosecution. At trial, a jury awarded him $128,500 in damages, plus $100,000 in exemplary damages, court records show.

The jury also found in favor of Cash America on its counterclaims for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, but awarded the company no damages.

On Sept. 14, the First Court reversed the award and rendered a take-nothing judgment against Alonzo.

“We hold that there was no evidence that the appellants acted in the absence of probable cause, and therefore the evidence is legally insufficient to support the jury’s malicious prosecution verdict,” the opinion states.

Alonzo is represented by attorneys John Sullivan III and Robert Filteau.

Cash America is represented by attorneys Jessica Barger and Edith Jamison.

Appeals case No. 01-19-00801-CV

Written by David Yates

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