Jimmy Dean to pay brother $500,000 in damages

DALLAS -- For the second time in five years, country singer and sausage tycoon Jimmy Dean has been ordered to pay a six-figure sum for bad-mouthing his brother.

A federal court jury in Dallas Tuesday ordered Dean to pay $500,000 to his brother, Don Dean, of the Dallas suburb of Irving, for 'mental anguish' and 'extreme injury' to his mental health for violating a 1980 agreement to keep his thoughts about his brother to himself.


Dean, 57, also was ordered to pay $80,000 in lawyers' fees.

The written agreement was part of a settlement of an earlier lawsuit in which Dean paid his 55-year-old brother $148,000.

In the second suit, filed in February 1984, Don Dean's lawyers alleged Jimmy Dean violated the agreement in conversations with at least eight people, including a Dallas Morning News reporter who quoted him as blaming business troubles to 'an ego problem in management' when Don Dean was president of Jimmy Dean Meat Co. in the late 1970s.

Testimony in the trial lasted one week, with attorneys for Don Dean arguing their client had been reduced to a 'hermit' by his brother's taunts.

'Being an old plains boy myself, I found it difficult to see how two adult men couldn't settle this a long time ago,' said jury foreman Jerry Glover.


Don Dean's lawyers, who had asked for $2 million in damages and $130,000 in attorney's fees, said their client had been vindicated.

'We feel that the award was fair,' said attorney Christopher H. Rentzel.

Lawyers for Jimmy Dean said they intend to file motions to have the jury's verdict set aside. If that is unsuccessful, they said they will appeal.

Reached at his Dallas home following the verdict, Jimmy Dean told The Dallas Times Herald, 'I don't have a brother,' and declined to answer questions.

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