Attorneys For Joplin’s Former Master Developer Re-argue Lawsuit Judgment

Attorneys For Joplin’s Former Master Developer Re-argue Lawsuit Judgment
today hearing.jpg

The City of Joplin hopes its years-long legal battle with the now defunct Wallace Bajjali company will soon come to an end. Wallace Bajjali was hired by the city to rebuild after the 2011 tornado. But the company didn’t build a single project.

The owners of Wallace Bajjali left Joplin without notice early last year, and Joplin officials have contended ever since that Wallace Bajjali owes the city $1.5 million.

Attorneys representing the City of Joplin said today this most recent court hearing was a bit of deja vu. Attorney Karl Blanchard, for the City of Joplin, said, “This is the same pig with just more lipstick.” Even Judge David Dally, presiding over this case, questioned what was different from this hearing to another hearing held almost a year ago.

In August of 2015, Costa Bajjali came to Joplin to ask a judge for a new trial, and to reconsider the $1.5 million judgment against him. That motion was denied.

This time around, Bajjali was absent from the court room, but his defense said they made a mistake a year ago by asking for a new trial. The defense says instead, they should have—and are—wording the request differently, now asking the judge to “set aside” the previous lawsuit judgment.

The defense is using the same argument from a year ago, saying Bajjali never received a court summons for the lawsuit because his business agent in Missouri didn’t have the right address. The defense admits Wallace Bajjali should have continuously verified the agent had the right address, but says this error was not intentional.

Furthermore, the defense says the agent should have, “Made a more diligent effort to contact by mail, e-mail, or even contacting Missouri attorney…”.

But attorneys for Joplin argue the city did what was required by law to try and communicate with Bajjali.

This most recent court hearing ended similarly to last year’s hearing, with the judge saying he would give a decision within a few days. It took the judge last year about 24 hours to rule against Bajjali.

Both the attorneys for the City of Joplin and attorneys for Costa Bajjali declined our request to be interviewed for this story. David Wallace, who co-owned Wallace Bajjali, has filed bankruptcy, and attorneys for the City of Joplin say that is protecting him from being served in this case.

Click here to read the former Missouri agent of Wallace Bajjali informing the City of Joplin that he couldn’t reach Wallace Bajjali anymore.

Click here to read an affidavit from Costa Bajjali, arguing his former Missouri agent didn’t properly represent him.

Click here and here to view attorneys for Costa Bajjali argue that Bajjali never had the chance to dispute a lawsuit by the City of Joplin.