United States District Court, D. Utah
FIRST AMERICAN TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY and FIRST AMERICAN TITLE COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiffs,
NORTHWEST TITLE INSURANCE AGENCY, LLC; MICHAEL SMITH; JEFF WILLIAMS; and KRISTI CARRELL, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING THE MOTIONS TO SET ASIDE
Nuffer United States District Judge
Motion to Set Aside Verdict for Double Recovery,
defendants move to “set aside the award of
damages” because the claims upon which those
damages are based “are all premised on the same conduct
and the same injury to First American.” Defendants also
“request that the Court dismiss First American's
claim for punitive damages” for insufficient evidence.
also filed the Motion to Set Aside Verdict for Failure to
Instruct and Improper Instruction or for
Mistrial. In that motion the defendants argue that
the jury was not properly instructed on the standard of proof
motions are DENIED for the reasons stated below.
jury's verdict will not be disturbed.
basic principle of compensatory damages is that an injury can
be compensated only once.” The defendants argue that
the jury's verdict duplicates damages. In support, the
defendants state that the three torts for which the jury
found the defendants liable are all based on the same conduct
and injury. Allowing separate damages for each cause of
action, the defendants argue, would duplicate damages.
cannot speculate on the basis for the jury's verdict.
Regarding tortious interference for both Michael Smith and
Northwest, the jury may have considered other agents of
Northwest, e.g., Doug Smith, that tortiously
interfered with First American's contracts: Michael
Smith's breach of his fiduciary duty is the predicate
improper means which enabled tortious interference by other
agents of Northwest. A jury verdict should not be upset
“on the basis of speculation.”
Defendants also argue that the jury may have been confused by
instruction 60. It stated The amount of damages you award may
overlap among the defendants and among the claims.
If you find a defendant liable on multiple claims or if you
find several defendants liable on a single claim, the court
may take action to ensure that double recovery does not
occur, and may require First American to elect between damage
that, the defendants argue that the jury must have understood
that the court would pare down their damage award. However,
the instruction only stated “the court may
take action” to prevent double recovery. The form of
the verdict assures no double recovery was granted.
though the jury assigned separate damage amounts for each
cause of action, they also filled in the final line of the
damages section: “The total amount of damages to be
awarded to First American is $2, 725,
000.” The jury clearly declared that their
damage awards on each claim do not overlap.
jury was properly instructed regarding the burden of proof
defendants filed a separate motion arguing that the jury was
not instructed on the clear and convincing standard for
making a finding of “willful and malicious, or in
reckless indifference ...