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Ingersoll Cutting Tool Co. v. Iowa Midland Supply Inc.

May 19, 2010

INGERSOLL CUTTING TOOL CO., PLAINTIFF,
v.
IOWA MIDLAND SUPPLY INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Before the court are the following five motions: Iowa Cutting Tool Company's ("ICTC") renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(b) or, in the alternative, for a new trial under Rule 59(a); Iowa Midland Supply's ("IMS") motion for a new trial under Rule 59(a); IMS's motion to alter and amend Judge Kapala's order of April 2, 2008; ICTC's motion for leave to file a memorandum in excess of 15 pages; and ICTC's motion for a stay on enforcing judgment while the renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law is pending.

II. Background

On February 15, 2006, ICTC filed a complaint against IMS alleging breach of contract for unpaid invoices. IMS filed a counterclaim alleging that ICTC breached a contract, intentionally defamed IMS, and intentionally interfered with IMS's business relations.

On December 13, 2007, Judge Kapala granted in part ICTC's motion for summary judgment on ICTC's breach of contract claim. At that time, Judge Kapala ordered the parties to submit supplemental briefs regarding damages and to address whether final judgment should be entered pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). On February 20, 2008, after considering the parties' supplemental briefs, Judge Kapala granted ICTC's motion for summary judgment regarding interest in the amount of $28,535.88, and costs and fees in the amount of $3948. He noted that IMS had not objected to ICTC's calculation of interest. Judge Kapala found that issues of fact existed regarding the remaining damages. He gave the parties 30 days to either come to an agreement regarding those damages or to schedule a hearing with the court.

On April 2, 2008, Judge Kapala entered the following minute order: Pursuant to agreement of parties, enter order respecting assessment of costs on summary judgment proceedings. Summary judgment is granted for plaintiff Ingersoll Cutting Tool Company and against defendant Iowa Midland Supply, Inc. in the amount of $128,094.74, including $95,161.22 in unpaid invoices, $28,535.88 in interest, and $4,397.64 in costs and fees. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied as to the remaining amount of costs and fees. (Crt. Doc. 68.) On April 4, 2008, he entered on a separate paper the following order regarding the assessment of costs on the summary judgment proceedings:

STATEMENT [ICTC] and [IMS], acting through their respective attorneys as evidenced by their signatures at the places designated below, agree that the damages remaining following the Court's Decision and Order dated February 20, 2008, in the above styled cause by the Honorable Frederick J. Kapala, are set forth below.

The parties further agree that no findings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) shall be made as a result of the agreements reflected in the agreed amendment.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, summary judgment is granted for Plaintiff in the amount of $128,094.74, including $95,161.22 in unpaid invoices, $28,535.88 in interest, and $4,397.64 in costs and fees. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied as to the remaining amount of costs and fees. (Crt. Doc. 70.) The text of the order is followed by the signatures of Judge Kapala and the attorneys for both ICTC and IMS, and is dated April 2, 2008.

On May 5, 2009, Judge Kapala granted ICTC's motion for summary judgment regarding IMS's counterclaims of defamation and interference of business relations. He found that genuine issues of fact remained regarding IMS's breach of contract claim.

In the final pretrial order, signed by Magistrate Judge Mahoney on September 16, 2009, the parties consented to the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge. Judge Kapala transferred the case to Magistrate Judge Mahoney on September 17, 2009. A four day jury trial began on January 26, 2010. At the close of IMS's case, ICTC moved for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(a). The court granted that motion in part. The court ruled that IMS could not recover damages based on its theory that ICTC did not accept unused inventory. (Trial Tr. 326:11--14, Jan. 25, 2010 to Jan. 29, 2010.) The court found that the inventory at issue had been lost in the flood and was unsalable. (Id.) The court also ruled that IMS could not get "special damages." (Id. 328:4--13.) The court found that IMS had not presented sufficient evidence to sustain an award of special damages. (Id.) The court also found that ICTC properly terminated its relationship with IMS in 2005 regardless of which contract was in place at that time, and that damages related to a period of time after 2005 were unrecoverable. (Id.) The court denied the remainder of the motion.

On January 29, 2010, the jury came back with a verdict in favor of IMS in the amount of $347,868.74. Following the jury verdict, this court allowed the parties two weeks to brief the issues of whether Judge Kapala's April 2 order was a "judgment," and whether the court should setoff IMS's judgment with ICTC's award in Judge Kapala's order. The court asked the parties to calculate the amounts that would be owed, including interest, if the court ...


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