Title company employee, insurer settle dispute related to disbarred attorney

Chicago Title had accused woman of complicity in escrow fraud

A local woman has settled her legal dispute with Chicago Title Insurance over her alleged role in a fraud scheme that led to the disbarment of a Brentwood attorney.

In April of 2009, Chicago Title named Laura Shoun in a lawsuit against William Weaver, a former agent it accused of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in mortgage payments for his personal use. At the time, Chicago Title labeled Shoun a “senior partner” in Weaver’s eponymous title company. Shoun countersued soon after, saying that while she was the “face of the company,” she did not handle escrow funds or have access to Weaver Title’s accounts.

In her suit, Shoun – who last year launched Partners Title of Tennessee as the quasi-successor to Weaver's firm – alleged that Chicago Title knew of irregularities in Weaver’s dealings as early as late 2007, but did not act on them until after an audit conducted in the summer of 2008. Chicago Title’s suit against her, she claimed, had harmed her reputation and inflicted emotional distress and caused health issues.

The parties’ settlement was entered in Willamson County Chancery Court last week. It dismissed both suits and orders Chicago Title to pay for court costs. Chicago Title also has written Shoun a letter saying “nothing has come to light to indicate that [she] participated in Mr. Weaver’s defalcations” and that she cooperated with the insurer as it investigated Weaver's actions. (Weaver was disbarred in March of 2009.)

During mediation, Shoun said she has incurred about $22,000 in legal and medical costs and lost about $50,000 in income and business expenses. It is not clear if Chicago Title has paid Shoun that amount as part of the settlement.

C. Dewees Berry IV of Bass Berry & Sims, who is representing Chicago Title, said he was not at liberty to disclose the information. Shoun’s attorney, Edward Hadley of North Pursell Ramos & Jameson, could not be reached Tuesday afternoon.

In its case against Weaver, Chicago Title has obtained a default judgment. The next step is determining damages, something Berry said should happen “pretty soon.”