LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Shane Smith, the former Chief Financial Officer of Reagor-Dykes Auto Group, filed a motion in bankruptcy court to move the case involving First Bank & Trust vs. multiple Reagor-Dykes entities, Bart Reagor, Rick Dykes, Shane Smith, Sheila Miller, Brad D. Burgess and Kenneth L. Burgess. On November 27, that motion was denied.
Smith requested the case be transferred to the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas, or another District in Texas, for further proceeding, to ensure Smith’s constitutional right to an impartial jury is not hindered.
According to the motion, attorneys for Smith say since the date of the alleged incidents, Smith and other defendants, including RAM and its officers, have been, or are likely to become, involved in criminal investigations arising from the alleged events made the basis of this suit.
The motion states, “The publicized events surrounding RAM has generated civil lawsuits and, upon information and belief, criminal investigations, and has been the subject of multiple news stories and reports that are or may be prejudicial to Defendant Smith.”
The motion goes on to say, the fact that KCBD NewsChannel 11 and other news outlets have published articles and reported on television the events in the case since July 31, 2018, and the fact those articles and stories have been published on the internet and social media, are cause enough to move the venue.
Trial of this lawsuit in the Lubbock Division would deprive Smith of his inherent right to an impartial jury. Although Smith has great faith in the Lubbock community to uphold its civic duties, the improbability of securing a jury panel that has not been prejudiced or impacted, directly or indirectly, by the alleged actions of Reagor Dykes Auto Group, puts Smith’s Constitutional rights in jeopardy. Smith and other defendants have been the subject of multiple news stories, reports, and social media posts that will likely have tainted a significant base of any potential jury pool.2 A significant percentage of Lubbock area residents have been directly or indirectly notified and/or impacted by the bankruptcy and litigation involving the Reagor Dykes Auto Group.
News related to the Reagor Dykes bankruptcy, the Ford Motor Credit lawsuit, and other pending lawsuits are routinely on front pages of newspapers, and featured on websites and social media accounts. As a result, a significant percentage of the Lubbock area residents have likely already formed an opinion about the allegations contained in this lawsuit and in other related lawsuits. As such, Smith requests that this Court transfer this case to the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas, or another District in Texas, for further proceeding.
As stated above, Smith and other defendants have been the subject of multiple news stories, reports, and social media posts that will likely have tainted a significant base of any potential jury pool. A significant percentage of Lubbock area residents, employees and families of employees, consumers, and the general population have been directly or indirectly impacted by the bankruptcy and litigation involving the Reagor Dykes Auto Group.
The FirstBank & Trust suit alleges the defendants have breached their agreements and are in default for, among other things, selling vehicles pledged as collateral to FirstBank, failing to remit the required payments for those vehicles to FirstBank, falsely reporting the sales status and location of the collateral, and overdrawing Reagor Auto Mall’s checking account at FirstBank.
FirstBank & Trust is seeking the recovery of monetary relief of more than $1 million, but states it is owed more than $3 million.
Shane Smith and his attorneys also filed a motion to stay or abate the proceedings pending in the bankruptcy court for this case until the resolution of possible criminal proceedings. The motion says Smith would incur a significant burden if the stay was denied. And he also faces a conflict between asserting his Fifth Amendment rights and fulfilling his obligation as a Defendant in this civil action. That motion was also denied.
If Smith responds to discovery or further issues in this proceeding, he would be jeopardizing his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination by creating the possibility that his answers will aid a possible government prosecution of him. On the other hand, if Smith invokes his Fifth Amendment privilege, then he risks severe prejudice in this proceeding that could amount to a forfeiture of his due process rights to defend himself. Accordingly, Smith seeks to abate or stay this proceeding until any possible criminal investigations, and any subsequent proceedings, are concluded.
In summary of the motion for a stay, Smith requests the court to halt all proceedings, including discovery against all parties, until the conclusion of any parallel criminal cases or investigations, if any. Or halt all proceedings, including discovery, against Smith, until the conclusion of any parallel criminal case or investigations.