Max Hopper, a former SVP at American Airlines and IT expert who created the airlines' seat reservation system, died unexpectedly in 2010. He left an estimated $19 million without a will.
The bank, JP Morgan Chase, was asked to divide his assets. However, his wife Jo brought a lawsuit, according to The Daily Mail’s recent article, “Children of dead American Airlines executive want LESS money.”
The widow claimed the bank took years to release the funds.
This fall, a jury ordered the bank to pay $8 billion in punitive damages, $2 billion each to Mrs. Hopper, her stepchildren Stephen Hopper and Laura Wassmer, and the Hopper estate. But Hopper's children said they only wanted $74 million in damages.
JP Morgan says Hopper’s heirs want the damages reduced to about $74 million because they think the $8 billion figure is excessive. It would be the ninth largest verdict in US history.
Jo Hopper's lawyers contend that JP Morgan Bank took years to release basic interests in art, home furnishings, jewelry, as well as Mr. Hopper's collection of 6,700 golf putters and 900 bottles of wine.
Some of the assets weren’t released for more than five years.
JP Morgan is adamant that it did nothing wrong and believes the ruling in Dallas, Texas will be overturned.
JP Morgan said: “The law and evidence do not support any claim against JP Morgan, much less the unprecedented multi-billion-dollar punitive damage award, which the heirs have already admitted is unconstitutionally excessive.”
The crux of the lawsuit, according to the bank, “is whether sparring survivors of a decedent may blame an independent administrator for seeking judicial guidance on a distribution issue about which the survivors disagree.”
Reference: Daily Mail (November 20, 2017) “Children of dead American Airlines executive want LESS money”