A Boone County cattle farmer’s lawsuit against Stone Bank of Mountain View and various executives has ended with a whimper after 16 months and more than 200 filings.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks of Fayetteville, in an opinion issued Sept. 16, said Stone Bank was within its contractual rights to apply proceeds from insurance on Nathan Lippe’s fire-destroyed house to the balance of his home mortgage and to other outstanding loans.
And with that, Brooks dismissed the last piece of a multifaceted complaint filled with explosive accusations that Lippe had originally filed in May 2021.
Stone Bank CEO Marnie Oldner released this statement:
“The Bank has continuously maintained that Mr. Lippe’s lawsuit had no merit.
“The Court agreed, and the Bank is pleased with the Court’s decision. It is unfortunate that meritless civil lawsuits are filed by those hoping to extract a settlement from a defendant. Meritless lawsuits should not be rewarded, and the Bank has been, and will continue to be, committed to vigorously defending itself in court.”
Judge Brooks had in July dismissed other parts of Lippe’s “disorganized and confusing” complaint, including an accusation that former Stone Bank loan officer James Johnson had pressured Lippe for personal loans that Johnson never intended to repay.
Although Johnson acknowledged borrowing from Lippe — personal loans that Judge Brooks said “appear highly inappropriate given Johnson’s position as Lippe’s loan manager” — Lippe brought no evidence that Johnson had set out to steal the money.
Before the deadline to appeal the dismissal of the claims against Johnson expired, Lippe and Johnson settled their differences, including the personal loans, according to a joint motion filed by both parties in August.
Brooks had also dismissed Lippe’s complaint against Marvin Sutterfield, a former president of the bank, who was working as an agri loan consultant despite being disciplined by federal regulators in 2012.
Even if Sutterfield were violating the terms of his consent order with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Brooks said, there was no evidence that Sutterfield was engaged in money laundering, as Lippe claimed.
Robert A. Ginnaven III of Jasper, who originated Lippe’s lawsuit, and Lloyd W. “Tré” Kitchens III of Little Rock, who later joined as plaintiff’s counsel, both withdrew from the case in July. His attorney as the case wound down was Angela C. Artherton of Harrison, who did not respond to a call for comment on Thursday.