Womble Carlyle Attorneys Obtain Reversal of Judgment for Client
Yesterday the Court of Appeals reversed a jury verdict as to two defendants in a breach of contract case and granted a new trial to the remaining defendant on the issue of damages. The case is Scheerer v. Fisher. Womble Carlyle attorneys Burley Mitchell and Bob Numbers represented Highland Forest Partners in this appeal.
Scheerer filed suit to obtain the commission he believed he was entitled to as a result of this sale. At trial, the jury found that there was a breach of contract by Fisher, Renaissance Ventures, and Highland Partners and awarded the plaintiffs $400,000.
After the trial, Highland Forest Partners retained Womble Carlyle to represent it in the appellate process. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court erred in denying Renaissance Ventures' and Highland Partners' motion for a judgment in their favor notwithstanding the verdict because there was insufficient evidence of a breach of contract by those defendants - Renaissance properly terminated the initial purchase agreement, and the only claim alleged against Highland Partners in Plaintiffs' complaint was for a breach of a contract implied in law, an issue which the jury did not reach. The opinion represents a complete victory for Renaissance Ventures and Highland Forest Partners.
The COA did find that there was sufficient evidence to uphold the jury verdict with respect to Fisher, even though he terminated the initial purchase agreement that provided Scheerer with a two percent commission, and the final purchase agreements did not contain such a provision. Fisher testified that Scheerer introduced him to the properties and that he encouraged Scheerer to seek a commission from the seller. The COA held that the testimony "provided more than a scintilla of evidence that plaintiffs and Fisher had an express agreement that Fisher would procure Scheerer’s commission for the purchase of the properties and that he failed to do so."