O’Brien Law Firm wins $62K jury trial award for commercial real estate agent against Austin firm Canvas Properties
In March 2022, the O’Brien Law Firm represented Austin commercial real estate agent T.S. against Austin commercial real estate development firm and broker Canvas Properties, LLC, run by Rance Clouse, for T.S.’s unpaid commissions in connection with the sale and lease of commercial units at the Fourth& project at Fourth and Chicon St. in east Austin.
Just before most of T.S.’s pending sales were about to close, Clouse terminated T.S. and claimed that Canvas Properties owed her only a small fraction of the commissions due to her under their broker-agent agreement. T.S. testified credibly that Clouse terminated her simply to attempt to avoid paying her the commissions due to her, despite her work over almost 2 years securing buyers for those units through the construction delays and hostile conditions substantially created by Clouse.
In March 2022, the parties presented the case to a 12-person Travis County jury, in what may have been the first in-person jury trial since the COVID-19 pandemic began. T.S. testified not only to her right to her commissions due, but about Clouse’s mercurial and abusive behavior as her boss. Through O’Brien’s vigorous representation, T.S. won a jury verdict in favor of her interpretation of the employment contract along with over $62,000 in damages. Implicit with that jury verdict was a tacit affirmation that Clouse had mistreated her in the employment relationship.
As of April 2023, Clouse on behalf of Canvas Properties, LLC continues to refuse to pay the amount awarded by the jury and ordered due by the court, and continues to fight O’Brien’s ongoing efforts to collect on the judgment and get T.S. paid.