447 F.Supp. 543 (D.Colo. 1977), Civ. A. 75 M 156, Malandris v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.

Docket NºCiv. A. 75 M 156
Citation447 F.Supp. 543
Party NameMalandris v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.
Case DateOctober 19, 1977
CourtUnited States District Courts, 10th Circuit, District of Colorado

Page 543

447 F.Supp. 543 (D.Colo. 1977)

Jung Ja MALANDRIS, Plaintiff,

v.

MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH, INC., Defendant.

Civ. A. No. 75 M 156.

United States District Court, D. Colorado.

Oct. 19, 1977

Page 544

William R. Fishman and David H. Drennen, Denver, Colo., for plaintiff.

Donald K. Bain and John M. Kobayashi, Holme, Roberts & Owen, Denver, Colo., for defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MATSCH, District Judge.

After a four day trial with sharply conflicting testimony and upon instructions that liability could be found for fraud and deceit and for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, a jury of six persons returned a verdict for the plaintiff for $1,030,000.00 in compensatory damages and $3,000,000.00 in punitive damages. The defendant seeks a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, a new trial. A proper consideration of these motions requires some comment on the evidence.

The plaintiff, Jung Ja Malandris, is a naturalized citizen of the United States who was born and raised in the Republic of Korea. She has had no formal education of any kind and she is unable to read or write in any language. The plaintiff married Steven Malandris when he was on active duty as a truck driver in the United States Army in Korea.

After discharge, Mr. Malandris obtained employment as a baggage handler for United Airlines working first in New Jersey and later at Stapleton International Airport in Denver, Colorado. Recognizing that as an uneducated and unskilled worker his earning capacity is entirely dependent upon his physical strength, Steven Malandris has relentlessly worked double shifts and all of the overtime and holiday time which he could obtain from his employer.

Steven and Jung Ja Malandris have pursued an extraordinary life style, wholly dominated by a search for financial security. Although their income has been maximized, Mr. and Mrs. Malandris have avoided most of the expenditures ordinarily incurred by other couples in comparable circumstances. They have not gone to restaurants or movies; they have not subscribed to magazines or newspapers; they have not visited in the homes of others or had guests

Page 545

in their apartment; and they have lived at a subsistence level. In sum, Mr. and Mrs. Malandris have existed in an isolated environment wholly separate from the society surrounding them.

Steven's hard work and their unusual life style enabled Mr. and Mrs. Malandris to accumulate more than $60,000.00 and, as a result of a posting of the price and income record of United Airlines stock on an employees' bulletin board, they invested all of their savings in United's common stock.

Jung Ja Malandris was the dominant marriage partner and, although Steven earned it, she controlled the couple's money. In this way, she also controlled her husband.

When the plaintiff became disquieted and uncomfortable about the future of United Airlines stock, she directed her husband to sell it and to put the proceeds into bank deposits. Mr. Malandris went to Merrill Lynch for that purpose and there he met Mr. John Barron, an account executive who was a retired army officer. While the testimony of Steven Malandris and John Barron sharply conflicts in most important respects, taken as a whole the evidence supports the version of Mr. Malandris. He said that John Barron induced him to leave the proceeds...

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