SAN ANGELO, TX — Dusty Thompson and Southern Industrial Engines had a bad week in court. On Friday, a jury found that Thompson and Southern Industrial Engines violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by engaging in false, misleading and deceptive acts and practices during the conduct of trade.
The lawsuit, filed by Steve Baxter, who at the time of his bad dealings with Thompson, owned a body shop in San Angelo, states that Thompson stole two vehicles from the body shop — a 2014 Ford pickup and an 1974 Toyota FJ Cruiser — along with tools from the plaintiff.
Thompson and the body shop made a deal where the body shop would perform body work to a bus. In return, Thompson and Southern Industrial Engines was to perform work on the two vehicles. Thompson’s work was never complete and the body shop was never returned the two vehicles that were situated on Thompson’s property.
The plaintiff is seeking between $200,000 and $1,000,000 in damages.
Thompson counter-sued after denying all allegations in the original complaint. Thompson claimed he performed some of the agreed work on the two vehicles but was never delivered the body work on Thompson’s bus. The reason his work stopped, Thompson claimed, was in “anticipatory breach” of the agreement by the body shop. Thompson then asked for an additional $105 for towing fees for the two vehicles. All told, Thompson wanted the jury to award him at least $16,213.12 for non-performance of their agreement plus storage fees topping $20,000!
A jury considered the case Friday and determined that Thompson was in the wrong. They handed down their verdict in favor of the body shop. The total amount of the damages will have to await the court. As per a 20-page charge to the jury, the jury returned their recommended damages. But the judge must review the jury’s recommendations and rule how much after he returns from a two-week vacation.
Thompson is a felon. He was convicted of cattle rustling in 2019. His 5-year prison sentence was suspended and he was instead placed on probation for the same amount of time.