United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
a trial on Alexandria Transportation's, Alexandre
Solomakha's, and Alex Express, LLC's (collectively,
“Alex's”) contribution claim against
remaining third-party defendant Safety International, LLC
(“Safety”), each party filed post-trial motions.
First, Safety has renewed their motion for judgment as a
matter of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
50(b). (ECF No. 342.) That rule allows the Court to direct
entry of judgment as a matter of law in favor of a party if
“a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient
evidentiary basis to find for the [opposing] party on that
issue.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1). When deciding whether to
do so, the Court should consider all of the evidence, but (1)
must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party, (2) must not make credibility
determinations, and (3) cannot weigh the evidence in
contravention of what the fact-finder may have done.
Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc.,
530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). “That is, the court should
give credence to the evidence favoring the nonmovant as well
as that ‘evidence supporting the moving party that is
uncontradicted and unimpeached, at least to the extent that
that evidence comes from disinterested witnesses.'”
Id. at 151 (quoting 9A C. Wright & A. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 2529, at 300
(2d ed. 1995)). This standard mirrors the standard for
granting summary judgment. Reeves, 530 U.S. at 150
(citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 250-51 (1986)); Murray v. Chicago Transit
Auth., 252 F.3d 880, 887 (7th Cir. 2001).
the Court cannot grant Safety's request. The jury in this
case was tasked with determining each party's percentage
of liability in tort to the original plaintiff. And they
found that Safety was 10% liable, Alex was 15% liable, and
Edwards-Kamadulski, LLC (“Edwards”)-a former
third-party defendant who needed to be on the verdict form in
order to accurately determine each party's pro rata share
of liability here-was 75% liable. (ECF No. 337.) Safety
argues that the jury's verdict cannot stand because there
was no evidence in this case that they had any duty to the
original plaintiffs-specifically because representatives for
both Safety and Edwards testified that the contract between
them placed no legal duty on Safety-but the jury in this case
believed otherwise. That may be due, at least in part, to the
Q. (By Alex's Counsel) Mr. Edwards, you and I saw each
other out in the hall earlier, is that right?
A. Yes, we did.
Q. And you were upset this morning that you would have to
come back here this afternoon, weren't you?
A. No, I wasn't upset.
Q. Didn't you, in fact, tell me that I don't want to
call you in this case because you will try to destroy my
case? Didn't you make that statement, sir?
A. No, I didn't.
Q. Okay. Thank you.
(ECF No. 351, pp. 128:6-18.) The jury in this case was the
ultimate finder of fact, and it was entitled to give the
testimony in this case whatever weight it deserved. This
Court does not have the legal authority to second-guess that.
The Court accordingly must deny Safety's motion.
is one other procedural matter to address in regards to
Safety's post-trial motion. Even though Safety filed it
28 days after the verdict, they did not use that time to
provide citations to the trial transcript-presumably because
they did never ordered it. Instead, Alex ordered the
transcript after Safety filed their motion and accurately
cited to it in their response brief. Then, Safety filed a
reply brief-which Local Rule 7.1 instructs “are not
favored and should be filed only in exceptional
circumstances”-in which Safety stated “that such
[exceptional] circumstances exist based on the fact the
transcript of the trial is now available and in the
possession of Safety International's counsel.” That
is in poor taste and is certainly not an exceptional
circumstance. Safety could have ordered the transcript after