United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
SABRE INDUSTRIES, INC.
MODULE X SOLUTIONS, LLC, ET AL.
MAGISTRATE Judge HORNSBY
MAURICE HICKS, JR., JUDGE
the Court is a Renewed Rule 50(b) Motion for Judgment as a
Matter of Law (Record Document 254) filed by Plaintiff and
Defendant-in-Counterclaim, Sabre Industries, Inc.
(“Sabre”). Defendant and
Plaintiff-in-Counterclaim, Module X Solutions, L.L.C.
(“MXS”) opposed the motion. See Record
Document 266. For the reasons set forth below, Sabre’s
Renewed Rule 50(b) Motion is DENIED in its
Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b) provides:
If the court does not grant a motion for judgment as a matter
of law made under Rule 50(a), the court is considered to have
submitted the action to the jury subject to the court’s
later deciding the legal questions raised by the motion. No.
later than 28 days after the entry of judgment . . ., the
movant may file a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of
law and may include an alternative or joint request for a new
trial under Rule 59. In ruling on the renewed motion, the
(1) allow judgment on the verdict, if the jury returned a
(2) order a new trial; or
(3) direct the entry of judgment as a matter of law.
50(b). “A party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law only if the evidence points but one way and is
susceptible to no reasonable inferences which may support the
opposing party’s position.” Logan v. Burgers
Ozark Country Cured Hams Inc., 263 F.3d 447, 455 (5th
Cir. 2001). The district court is not to “weigh
evidence, judge witness credibility, or challenge the factual
conclusions of the jury. Judgment as a matter of law is
appropriate . . . if there is no legally sufficient
evidentiary basis for a claim under the controlling
an approximate three week jury trial, the jury found that MXS
proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Sabre made
negligent misrepresentations to MXS that were justifiably
relied upon by MXS and that caused damage to MXS.
See Record Document 246 at 12 (Interrogatory No.
21). The jury found $2, 150, 211 as the amount of damages
sustained by MXS as a result of the negligent
misrepresentations. See id. S a b r e now requests
that the Court grant its renewed motion for judgment as a
matter of law and (1) set aside the jury’s findings
regarding MXS’s counterclaim for negligent
misrepresentation and (2) set aside the jury’s $2, 150,
211 award of damages to MXS. See Record Document
254. Sabre did not request a new trial on any issue, but
rather asked the Court to direct the entry of judgment as a
matter of law. See id.
Court has reviewed Sabre’s arguments and finds that
there is a legally sufficient evidentiary basis in the trial
record for the jury’s decision on MXS’s negligent
misrepresentation claim against Sabre based on
representations and/or omissions made both pre- and post-JV
Agreement. MXS has pointed to Louisiana case law analyzing
negligent misrepresentation claims for
representations/omissions made during negotiations leading up
to the formation of a contract and for act
representations/omissions made after there is privity of
contract. See generally Ethyl Corp. v. Gulf States
Utilities, Inc., 2001-2230 (La.App. 1 Cir. 10/2/02), 836
So.2d 172, 178, writ denied, 2002-2709 (La. 12/19/02), 833
So.2d 340; Barrie v. V.P. Exterminators, Inc., 625
So.2d 1007, 1015 (La. 1993) (“Since Devore,
the bulk of Louisiana’s jurisprudence generating the
negligent misrepresentation tort theory has been cases with
contract or fiduciary relationships between plaintiff and
defendant, rather than cases with a third party who relied on
the misinformation.”). The Court’s notes from
trial also reference testimony from Steve Schoonover
regarding expenditures made for preparations and readiness,
including the acquisition of a manufacturing facility.
Additionally, the Court limited the breach of contract
damages in this case to lost profits and capital
expenditures; however, as noted by MXS in its opposition
brief, the Court allowed evidence of damages beyond these two
categories only because of the presence of the tort claims
alleged by both parties. See Record Document 266 at
7. The Court acknowledges that it is somewhat peculiar that
the jury’s award of $2, 150, 211 matches the damages
summary presented by MXS’s expert in Forensic
Accounting, Ben Woods, in the context of contract lost profit
damages. See MXS Exhibit 244. Yet, this Court cannot
determine as a matter of law that the jury used this figure
alone - and no other evidence from trial - to calculate
damages as to MXS’s negligent misrepresentation claim.
There was evidence presented at trial by MXS that allowed a
reasonable inference to be drawn that supports the
jury’s finding as to MXS’s negligent
misrepresentation claim against Sabre. Moreover, the jury was
instructed in great detail on both the elements of a
negligent misrepresentation claim and damages. See
Record Document 240. Thus, this Court is reluctant to
“challenge the factual conclusions of the jury”
and believes the issues raised by Sabre are better addressed
on direct appeal. Logan, 263 F.3d at 455.
Sabre’s Renewed Rule 50(b) Motion is
DENIED in its entirety.
IS SO ORDERED.