Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jalberts v. Eagle Rigid Spans, Inc.

Supreme Court of North Dakota

March 7, 2017

Brandon and Constance Jalbert, Plaintiffs and Appellees
v.
Eagle Rigid Spans, Inc., Defendant and Appellant

         Appeal from the District Court of Hettinger County, Southwest Judicial District, the Honorable William A. Herauf, Judge.

         AFFIRMED.

          Christina M. Wenko, for plaintiffs and appellees.

          John E. Ward (argued) and Patrick J. Ward (on brief), Kraig A. Wilson (on brief) and Sean F. Marrin (on brief), for defendant and appellant.

          CROTHERS, JUSTICE.

         [¶ 1] Eagle Rigid Spans, Inc., ("ERS") appeals an order denying its motion for new trial and an amended judgment entered after a jury found in favor of Brandon and Constance Jalbert and awarding them $650, 000 plus interest, and costs and disbursements. ERS also appeals from the district court's order overruling its objections to costs and disbursements. ERS argues irregularities in the proceeding of the jury trial prevented them from having a fair trial, the jury awarded excessive damages because of the influence of passion or prejudice, sufficient evidence did not exist to justify the verdict and the trial court erred in failing to reduce the Jalbert's expert witness fees. We affirm.

         I

         [¶ 2] ERS contracted to build a multi-purpose building for the Jalberts. The agreement stated a contract price of $374, 879. During and after the construction of the building the Jalberts discovered problems with the structure. The Jalberts brought suit alleging breach of contract and breach of warranty.

         [¶ 3] An initial trial resulted in a mistrial following a health complication suffered by ERS's counsel. A second trial was held for two days. At trial Mrs. Jalbert testified she paid ERS $344, 116.58 for the structure and paid $599, 914.41 in total for the building. The total cost included payments to a plumbing company for $8, 220, an electric door company for $14, 842.25, an electric company for $87, 806.20, a concrete company for $102, 529.38 and $42, 200 for in-floor electric heat. The jury heard testimony from the Jalbert's expert indicating the building was not structurally sound under the International Building Code. The jury heard further testimony from a general contractor stating the building had structural deficiencies. The general contractor testified demolition of the building could cost between $48, 000 and $80, 000.

         [¶ 4] The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Jalberts awarding them $650, 000, plus interest and costs and disbursements for a total of $877, 407.78. ERS objected to the costs and disbursements, arguing the Jalbert's expert witness fees were unreasonable. The district court entered an amended judgment reducing the total costs and disbursements award from $125, 045.48 to $123, 519.23. ERS filed a motion for a new trial. The district court denied their motion. ERS appeals.

         II

         [¶ 5] ERS argues the district court abused its discretion by denying a new trial because the district court erred in determining: (1) irregularities in the jury trial did not prevent it from having a fair trial; (2) the jury did not award excessive damages under the influence of passion or prejudice; and (3) sufficient evidence justified the verdict.

         [¶ 6] Rule 59(b)(1), (5) and (6), N.D.R.Civ.P., provide:

"The court may, on motion of an aggrieved party, vacate the former verdict or decision and grant a new trial on any of the following grounds materially affecting the substantial rights of the party:
(1) irregularity in the proceedings of the court, jury, or adverse party, or any court order or abuse of discretion that prevented a party from having a fair trial;
(5) excessive damages appearing to have been awarded under the influence of passion or prejudice, but when a new trial is requested on this ground and it appears that the passion or prejudice affected only the amount of damages awarded and did not influence the jury's findings on other issues in the case, the district court, on hearing the motion, and the supreme court, on appeal, may order a reduction of the verdict ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.