Wednesday, 31 July 2019 20:14

2015 Sherwin-Williams v. JB Collision Receives Court Attention in 2019

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In his 2016 decision, Judge Burns said, “The Court finds it difficult, but not impossible, to thread the needle through the jury’s seemingly inconsistent general verdict … Taken in the light most favorable to the Body Shop Defendants, the evidence establishes that flaws in Sherwin-Williams’ product caused them $106,357.07 in damages for unpaid warranty claims, required them to redo 100 vehicles and that there’s another 65 vehicles waiting in the queue to be repaired. Using the Body Shop Defendants’ higher estimate of $3,200 to repair a vehicle, the evidence supports a maximum verdict of $634,357.07 on their fraud claims.”


Tyczki was left with under $260,000.


While the jury wasn’t specifically directed to issue a separate decision on “past, prospective, reputational and emotional damages,” jurors were instructed to find an amount to “reasonably compensate [Tyczki for] all harm that Sherwin-Williams was a substantial factor in causing.”


While Judge Burns agreed Tyczki presented evidence of reputational harm, he felt Tyczki “offered no evidence that would allow the jury to calculate the amount of resulting damages,” according to the Ninth Circuit Court who, quoting from the CA Court of Appeals 2012 decision in Rony v. Costa, unanimously agreed that it wasn’t necessary.


According to their decision, evidence of “the amount of resulting damages” should not have been required by the district court since reputational and emotional harm are so difficult to quantify. This left the jury “free to place any dollar amount on [the noneconomic] harm [as long as it wasn’t] so grossly excessive.”


The Ninth Circuit Court further noted, “Tyczki testified to being ‘embarrassed’ and ‘upset’ over being ‘fooled and lied to throughout [the] whole contract’ by Sherwin-Williams and testified that Sherwin-Williams is ‘breaking me.’ Tyczki’s manager similarly testified to being ‘really nervous and worried about what the future holds’ and having ‘lost quite a bit of sleep worrying about how many cars may come back down the road.’ A reasonable jury could have included a measure of emotional distress in its ‘reasonable calculation’ of damages for ‘all harm.’”

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