In 2010 a Lincoln County jury rendered a $1.5 million verdict for Precision Welding against Denbury Resources. Here is my post on the verdict.
On Thursday the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial in a 6–3 decision. Here is the Court’s opinion.
Justice Dickinson wrote the majority opinion. The majority found that there was a contract between Precision and Denbury, but the contract was terminable at-will.
The majority states: “based on the damages award in this case, the jury clearly did not find that the contract was terminable at will; thus, it never reached the issue of whether Denbury gave reasonable notice.”
The majority remanded for a re-trial on the issue of whether Denbury gave reasonable notice of termination and, if not, Precision’s damages.
Justice King writing for the dissent argued that the jury was properly instructed. The dissent states that based on the instructions, the jury could have concluded that notice was not reasonable and reflected that in its verdict.
The dissent states: “this court has no basis upon which to assume that the jury ignored the trial court’s instructions. This Court consistently has held that the jury is presumed to follow the court’s instructions.”
The dissent also states that the jury could have found that Denbury breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing.
I’ve got no opinion on this one.
Has anyone ever noticed that commercial cases are very interesting to litigate when it’s your case, but boring to read about when it’s not your case? And that the reverse can be true for a personal injury case?