C & H SUGAR CO. v. Kansas City Term. Warehouse Co., No. 81-0571-CV-W-9.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
Writing for the CourtPaul H. Niewald, Niewald, Waldeck, Norris & Brown, Kansas City, Mo., for defendant
Citation602 F. Supp. 183
PartiesCALIFORNIA & HAWAIIAN SUGAR COMPANY, et al., Plaintiffs, v. KANSAS CITY TERMINAL WAREHOUSE COMPANY, INC., Defendant.
Docket NumberNo. 81-0571-CV-W-9.
Decision Date11 January 1985

602 F. Supp. 183

CALIFORNIA & HAWAIIAN SUGAR COMPANY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
KANSAS CITY TERMINAL WAREHOUSE COMPANY, INC., Defendant.

No. 81-0571-CV-W-9.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, W.D.

January 11, 1985.


602 F. Supp. 184
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
602 F. Supp. 185
John M. Edgar, Stinson, Mag & Fizzell, Kansas City, Mo., for plaintiffs

Paul H. Niewald, Niewald, Waldeck, Norris & Brown, Kansas City, Mo., for defendant.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT

BARTLETT, District Judge.

Plaintiffs' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict seeks the award of prejudgment interest on the amount of damages found by the jury.

Defendant's motion for a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict argues that: 1) as a matter of law the evidence is insufficient to support plaintiffs' claims of fraud, negligence, breach of contract and damages; 2) plaintiffs are not entitled to prejudgment interest as a matter of law because plaintiffs' damages were neither liquidated nor readily ascertainable; 3) the Court erred in admitting evidence of

602 F. Supp. 186
prejudgment interest; 4) the Court erred in excluding evidence concerning the sanitary conditions at the C & H Refinery and Warehouse in Crockett, California; 5) the Court erred in giving Instruction No. 24, the fraud verdict director; 6) the Court would err in awarding prejudgment interest because this was submitted to the jury; 7) the Court erred in admitting evidence concerning settlement negotiations; and 8) the Court erred in submitting jury instructions on both fraud and negligence

Standards for Determining Motions for a New Trial and Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict

Despite the jury verdict in favor of plaintiff, judgment may be entered in favor of defendant if there is but one reasonable conclusion about the proper result. Compton v. United States, 377 F.2d 408, 411 (8th Cir.1967). A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury's verdict. Montgomery Ward & Co. v. Duncan, 311 U.S. 243, 252, 61 S.Ct. 189, 194, 85 L.Ed. 147 (1940). In deciding whether to grant defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the Court should consider the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, assume that all conflicts in the evidence were resolved by the jury in favor of plaintiffs, assume as proved all facts which plaintiffs' evidence tends to prove, and give plaintiffs the benefit of all reasonable inferences. Continental Ore Co. v. Union Carbide and Carbon Corp., 370 U.S. 690, 696, 82 S.Ct. 1404, 1409, 8 L.Ed.2d 777 (1962); Farner v. Paccar, Inc., 562 F.2d 518, 522 (8th Cir.1977). The Court may not consider the credibility of the witnesses or the weight of the evidence. McKnelly v. Sperry Corp., 642 F.2d 1101, 1105 (8th Cir.1981). A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict should be granted only if the evidence, together with all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, would not allow a reasonable jury to find in favor of the non-moving party. Tribble v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 669 F.2d 1193, 1195-96 (8th Cir.1982).

While a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is addressed to the sufficiency of the evidence, a motion for a new trial invokes the discretion of the Court by asserting that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence or that for other reasons of law the trial was manifestly unjust. Montgomery Ward & Co., 311 U.S. 243 at 252, 61 S.Ct. 189 at 194. The granting of a new trial rests within the discretion of the trial court. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. v. Aalco Wrecking Co., Inc., 466 F.2d 179 (8th Cir.1972). A new trial should be ordered where the verdict was against the weight of the evidence or to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Day v. Amax, Inc., 701 F.2d 1258, 1262 (8th Cir.1983). A new trial should not be granted merely because the Court feels that another result was more reasonable. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., 466 F.2d at 186.

There Was Substantial Evidence to Support Submission of Claims for Breach of Contract, Negligence and Fraud

Defendant asserts that:

1) Plaintiffs failed to produce evidence establishing that the sugar was delivered to defendant in good condition and that the sugar left the defendant's warehouse in bad condition;

2) Plaintiffs failed to establish that defendant breached its duty of care and that defendant did not exercise due care after discovering roaches; and

3) Plaintiffs failed to establish that defendant had a duty to tell plaintiffs about conditions at the warehouse.

Defendant's arguments in support of these contentions were considered and rejected during the trial. Plaintiffs introduced ample evidence from which a reasonable jury could have concluded that plaintiffs established each of the essential elements of the plaintiffs' breach of contract,

602 F. Supp. 187
negligence, and fraud claims. Therefore, defendant's arguments are rejected again

Exclusion of Evidence About General Sanitation at the Refinery Was Proper

Defendant contends that it should have been permitted to introduce evidence about the sanitary conditions at the C & H Refinery and Warehouse in Crockett, California.1

This contention was briefed by both parties prior to trial, was argued on several occasions during the trial and was the subject of an offer of proof by defendant. Defendant has presented nothing new and has not persuaded the Court its trial rulings were erroneous.

Fraud Verdict Director Properly Given

Defendant contends that Instruction No. 24, the fraud verdict director, improperly stated the law and was argumentative. Instruction No. 24 stated:

Your verdict must be for plaintiffs on their claim for fraud if you believe:
First, defendant, by failing to notify C & H that there were cockroaches in the area where the sugar was stored, represented to plaintiff C & H that defendant's warehouse continued to be a suitable storage place for its sugar, intending that plaintiff C & H rely upon such representation in continuing to store sugar in defendant's warehouse, and
Second, the representation was false, and
Third, defendant knew that the representation was false; and
Fourth, defendant knew that plaintiff C & H did not know that there were cockroaches in the area where the sugar was stored, and
Fifth, defendant knew that this information was not reasonably available to plaintiff C & H, and
Sixth, the representation was material to plaintiff C & H's decision regarding where to store its sugar, and
Seventh, plaintiff C & H relied on the representation in continuing to store sugar at defendant's warehouse and in shipping additional sugar to defendant's warehouse, and
Eighth, as a direct result of such representation, the plaintiffs were damaged.

The Court refused defendant's Instruction A which stated:

Your verdict must be for Plaintiffs on their claims for fraud if you believe:
First, Defendant, by its silence, represented to Plaintiff C & H that Plaintiff C & H could safely store its sugar in Defendant's warehouse, intending that Plaintiff C & H rely upon such representation in continuing to store sugar in Defendant's warehouse, and
Second, the representation was false, and
Third, Defendant knew that it was false, and that Plaintiff C & H had no knowledge of such fact, and that such knowledge was not within the fair and reasonable reach of Plaintiff C & H, and
Fourth, the representation was material to Plaintiff C & H's continuing to store the sugar in Defendant's warehouse, and
Fifth, Plaintiff C & H relied on the representation in continuing to store the sugar in Defendant's warehouse, and
Sixth, as a direct result of such representation the Plaintiff C & H was damaged.

Defendant's motion for a new trial asserts that Instruction No. 24 was argumentative, not a clear, concise statement and improperly stated the law. Defendant

602 F. Supp. 188
does not state how Instruction No. 24 was argumentative,...

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6 practice notes
  • Jacobs Mfg. Co. v. Sam Brown Co., No. 84-0887-CV-W-9.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • January 8, 1992
    ...for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, Brown, relying on California & Hawaiian Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., Inc., 602 F.Supp. 183 (W.D.Mo.1985); aff'd, 788 F.2d 1331 (8th Cir.1986), attempts to support the jury's verdict by arguing that this case involves plaintiff's ......
  • California & Hawaiian Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., Inc., No. 85-
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • April 16, 1986
    ...duty, $50,000 and $300,000 respectively and denied all other motions. C & H Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., 602 F.Supp. 183 (W.D.Mo.1985). The award of prejudgment interest in a diversity action is determined by the law of the state in which the action arose. Kisco Co. v. V......
  • Gray v. Fedex Ground Package Sys., Inc., No. 4:06-CV-00422 JAR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • September 5, 2014
    ...v. Cooper, 128 S.W.3d 69, 77-78 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003); California & Hawaiian Sugar Co. v. Kansas City TerminalPage 4Warehouse Co., Inc., 602 F. Supp. 183, 190 (W.D. Mo. 1985). See also Schreibman v. Zanetti, 909 S.W.2d 692, 704-05 (Mo.Ct.App. 1995), where the court held that plaintiff's claim......
  • Ernster v. Ralston Purina Co., No. 87-1662C(6).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • February 28, 1991
    ...in tort actions, and thus, not on the misappropriation and fraud claims. C & H Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., 602 F.Supp. 183, 190 (W.D.Mo.1985). In addition, damages as to the contract and unjust enrichment claims are of the nature as not being readily ascertainable, and ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Jacobs Mfg. Co. v. Sam Brown Co., No. 84-0887-CV-W-9.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • January 8, 1992
    ...for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, Brown, relying on California & Hawaiian Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., Inc., 602 F.Supp. 183 (W.D.Mo.1985); aff'd, 788 F.2d 1331 (8th Cir.1986), attempts to support the jury's verdict by arguing that this case involves plaintiff's ......
  • California & Hawaiian Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., Inc., No. 85-
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • April 16, 1986
    ...duty, $50,000 and $300,000 respectively and denied all other motions. C & H Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., 602 F.Supp. 183 (W.D.Mo.1985). The award of prejudgment interest in a diversity action is determined by the law of the state in which the action arose. Kisco Co. v. V......
  • Gray v. Fedex Ground Package Sys., Inc., No. 4:06-CV-00422 JAR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • September 5, 2014
    ...v. Cooper, 128 S.W.3d 69, 77-78 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003); California & Hawaiian Sugar Co. v. Kansas City TerminalPage 4Warehouse Co., Inc., 602 F. Supp. 183, 190 (W.D. Mo. 1985). See also Schreibman v. Zanetti, 909 S.W.2d 692, 704-05 (Mo.Ct.App. 1995), where the court held that plaintiff's claim......
  • Ernster v. Ralston Purina Co., No. 87-1662C(6).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • February 28, 1991
    ...in tort actions, and thus, not on the misappropriation and fraud claims. C & H Sugar Co. v. Kansas City Terminal Warehouse Co., 602 F.Supp. 183, 190 (W.D.Mo.1985). In addition, damages as to the contract and unjust enrichment claims are of the nature as not being readily ascertainable, and ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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