The Law Office of Mark L. Hayes was recently victorious on appeal in Brennan Station v. Borovsky, No. COA18-184. There, the Court of Appeals held the trial court erred in granting the opposing party’s motion for Judgment Notwithstanding The Verdict (“JNOV”), which allows the judge to make his own decision on the case separate from the jury’s verdict. The Court reinstated the jury’s verdict and judgment in favor of Mr. Hayes’ clients, the defendants, and ordered a new trial to determine the amount of lost profits Mr. Hayes’ clients suffered when they had to move their business. As the winning party, Mr. Hayes’ clients also had the right to a calculation of their attorney’s fees and costs for going to court.
On appeal, the opposing party argued the trial court erred by denying the portion of its JNOV regarding breach of contract claims against Mr. Hayes’ clients, and erred in its jury instructions. Mr. Hayes argued that the trial court erred first in granting the opposing party’s JNOV and second in its ruling that the trial court would instruct the jury it could only award damages to his clients through a limited timeline.
As to the opposing party’s issues raised on appeal, the Court of Appeals found the trial court did not error in denying the opposing party’s motions for directed verdict or JNOV. Similarly, the Court denied the opposing party’s second claim that the trial court erred in the language of its jury instructions because there was not an abuse of discretion and the instructions accurately reflected the relevant case law of the matter.
In reversing and partially remanding the trial court’s decision in favor of Mr. Hayes’ clients, the Court found on Mr. Hayes’ first issue that his clients. presented sufficient evidence at trial to support a jury’s verdict in their favor. The Court went on to note that the evidence presented at trial was certainly enough to defeat the high standard needed to grant the opposing party’s JNOV motion, and the trial court erred in granting the JNOV to overturn the jury’s verdict and award of damages.
As to his second issue, the Court of Appeals found that Mr. Hayes demonstrated that although the jury did not receive a limiting instruction on the dates allowed to be considered for damages, both parties’ trial attorneys limited the available dates in their closing arguments. The Court found however, that because Mr. Hayes’ clients could prove their lost profits with reasonable certainty through their history of profits and historical tax records, the issue should have been presented to the jury, and Mr. Hayes’ clients were entitled to a new trial on that issue. In addition to a new trial for determining the true figure of their lost profits, Mr. Hayes’ clients were also entitled to a separate calculation of attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party.
Please been advised, however, that success in this case should not be construed as an indication this firm will be successful in any given future case, and you should consult with a license attorney to determine the viability of your own case.