TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Kreis White on Jun 30, 2014

GEORGE HUTSELL v. JEFF KENLEY D/B/A TRADEMARK INVESTMENTS
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Joshua M. Ball and Kristi M. Davis, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeff Kenley d/b/a Trademark Investments.

William M. Leibrock, Newport, Tennessee, for the appellee, George Hutsell.

Judge: FRIERSON

This case presents issues regarding the propriety of the trial court’s rulings on evidentiary issues as well as a motion for directed verdict. The plaintiff sustained damages when his personalty, which was stored in a warehouse owned by the defendant, was subjected to water damage after the roof of the warehouse collapsed. The plaintiff filed the instant action seeking compensatory damages for the value of his damaged property. Prior to trial, the trial court ruled that the plaintiff could present evidence that the defendant also filed a claim with respect to his own damaged property stored in the warehouse. The trial court ruled, however, that the defendant would not be allowed to present evidence regarding the profitability of the plaintiff’s business. During the three-day trial, the defendant made a motion for directed verdict that was denied by the trial court. Following deliberations, the jury returned a verdict, finding the defendant to be 100% liable for the plaintiff’s loss and awarding damages to the plaintiff of $325,000. The defendant filed a renewed motion for directed verdict, a motion for new trial, and a motion for remittitur. All of the post-trial motions were denied by the trial court. The defendant appeals. Having determined that the trial court committed reversible error by allowing the plaintiff to present prejudicial evidence regarding the defendant’s own claim for damages, we vacate the jury’s award and remand for a new trial.

.PDF Version of Case

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