Greg Brannon co-defendant: Ruling defies logic

February 26th, 2014 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives 6 Responses

Much political hay is being made of the lawsuit against US Senate candidate Greg Brannon. The Republican doctor was found liable for misleading two investors in a tech company that went bust a couple years ago.

Democrats and the left say it proves Tea Partiers, conservatives, and Republicans are corrupt liars.

Republicans who support other candidates in the GOP primary see it as the death knell of Brannon’s campaign.

I liked Brannon’s candidacy and have been impressed with his knowledge of the US Constitution and its limiting principles. Even one of Brannon’s opponents – Thom Tillis – acknowledged Brannon’s superior understanding of our founding document.

There are some candidates in the Primary who are far more studied than I am on the Constitution.

But, politically, I suspect most people will not take the time to look into the lawsuit against Brannon. His opponents (particularly if he gets to the general election) will use the ruling in campaign ads mercilessly.

And, again, most won’t care to know the details.

For those who DO care, take a listen to this interview I did with Robert Rice.

Rice was Brannon’s co-defendant in the civil trial. Rice was found NOT liable by the same jury that found Brannon liable… despite the same evidence against both men.

The case

Two investors allege Brannon, Rice and David Kirkbride said the smartphone app the company was making would be used in a Verizon marketing campaign. The potential was there to add the app onto all Verizon smartphones.

This information came from a meeting that the company COO John Cummings had with Verizon. Oddly, the investors didn’t sue Cummings, when it was his report from the Verizon meeting that prompted this e-mail from Brannon to the investors:


Brannon was not an officer of the company. The information was coming from Cummings. The jury in this case somehow decided that this e-mail was proof that Brannon misled the two investors (one of whom didn’t invest until almost a year later, says Rice).

The absurdity of this ruling is clear when you consider that

  • Cummings wasn’t sued
  • a judge dismissed the case against Kirkbride earlier
  • Rice was found not liable
  • all the parties (including the plaintiffs) agreed that Brannon, Cummings, Rice, and Kirkbride all said the same thing

How can only one person have misled the investors when they all said the same thing?

It’s for these (among other) reasons that Rice said the jury ruling defies logic.

The jury also seemed to be confused during deliberations about whether they should view Brannon’s refusal to testify as admission of guilt.

Rice testified. He was found not liable. Had Brannon done the same he may very well have gotten the same ruling.

Instead, Brannon was ordered to pay the investors $250,000 plus interest.

Rice says one of the investors promised to ruin Brannon and his campaign for US Senate – that this was a vindictive lawsuit because the investor tried to take over the company but failed.

Even so, the political damage might be too great to overcome.

But who knows, maybe I am wrong.

Maybe there are enough people interested in learning the details of the case and making up their own minds.

  1. Steve says:

    Dr. Brannon has integrity. His belief in his associates, markedly optimistic, falls short of liability. Every product pitched has the potential to be a featured AR, even though the likelihood is low. What happened to “Let the buyer beware”? There was no deceit or intentional mIsleading.. It was optimism which is necessary for any development endeavor.

  2. Fred Thompson says:

    Is The Chairman Of The Board A Corporate Officer?
    One of the principal distinctions between corporate officers and directors is that officers have the authority of autonomous action as corporate agents while directors must act collectively. As discussed in “Worlds In Collision – Agency Law And A Director’s Fiduciary Duties“, a director qua director is generally not an agent of the corporation and neither is the board of directors. Nonetheless, I have seen many corporate bylaws that include the chairman (or chair) of the board in the article governing officers. When the positions of chairman and chief executive officer are occupied by different individuals, must the chairman be an officer?

    The California Corporations Code remains quite prescriptive when it comes to officers. A corporation must have a chairman of the board or a president or both. Cal. Corp. Code § 312(a). This implies that the legislature considered the title of chairman of the board to be an officer title. This implication is further reinforced by the fact that the same statute provides if there is no president, then the chairman of the board is the general manager and chief executive officer. In addition, Corporations Code Section 313 provides that contracts and other instruments are not invalidated as to a corporation due to any lack of authority when signed by the chairman and certain other specified officers. Nonetheless other duties of the chairman are more ministerial and tied to the administration of the board of directors (i.e., § 305(d) (receipt of director resignations) and § 307 (a)(1) (calling of board meetings)).

    In contrast, Nevada requires only that a corporation have a president, secretary and treasurer or the equivalent of these positions. NRS 78.130(1). Chapter 78 doesn’t even mention the position of chairman of the board.

    Notably, the Securities and Exchange Commission has not specifically identified the post of chairman of the board as an officer position in either its definition of “executive officer” in Exchange Act Rule 3b-7 or “officer” in Rule 16a-1(f) (although a chairman might, depending on the circumstances, fall within the catch-all for any other person who performs similar policy-making functions).

    Does it really matter whether the bylaws identify the chairman as an officer or is this really just a question of nomenclature? I believe that it does matter. Under California’s General Corporation Law, the articles may include a provision exculpating directors, but not officers, from liability. Corp. Code § 204(a)(10). (In Nevada, this won’t be an issue because directors and officers are automatically exculpated. See ”How Nevada Surpasses Delaware In Limiting The Liability Of Directors And Officers“.) It may also make a difference in whether the chairman obtains the benefit of the business judgment rule. See “District Court Refuses To Apply Business Judgment Rule To Claims Against Officers“.

  3. Jay Duggins says:

    Hello Tea Party,

    Please wake up!
    Americans are tired of corrupted public officials.

    This physician is unelectable.

  4. Scott Reynolds says:

    I’m standing strong with Brannon.

  5. Tom Beeman says:

    I cannot see supporting another tea party candidate with the “foot in the mouth” disease. Dr. Brannon has gone off the deep end equating Mitt Romney as the same as Barack Obama. We will never win an election supporting these types of candidates. Demos will have a feast on this guy and Kay Hagan will be our next NC Senator.

  6. Pat Kleinmaier says:

    I am still a strong supporter of Dr Brannon and know that he the best man for the job at hand. He will defend our constitution and look after the citizens of NC as a citizen servant. He was plainly targeted with this lawsuit.