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Thursday, November 01, 2018

Defense Verdict in Second Trial Upheld on Appeal

Yesterday the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Alumbaugh v. Wackenhut Corp., No. M2016-01530-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 31, 2018).  The syllabus from the slip opinion reads as follows:
After the plaintiff’s father was killed by an armed security guard, she filed a wrongful death action against the security guard’s employer. The complaint alleged both vicarious and direct liability and sought an award of compensatory and punitive damages. The employer maintained that the guard acted in self-defense. After the first trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. But the trial court ordered a new trial based on errors in the calculation of damages. A second jury verdict apportioned the greater proportion of fault to the decedent, resulting in a defense judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the trial court made numerous errors in the conduct of the second trial. After a thorough review, we conclude that the trial court did not commit reversible error. So we affirm.
Here is a link to the slip opinion: 

NOTE: This opinion offers an interesting analysis of rebuttal evidence, directed verdicts, punitive damages (pre-2011), negligent supervision, amendments to conform to the evidence, and missing evidence and spoliation of evidence.  

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