Plaintiff corporation sought review of an order

Plaintiff corporation sought review of an order from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which, in an action for breach of contract, granted defendant corporation’s motion for a new trial on the ground that the award was excessive. Plaintiff argued that the trial court, in granting a new trial, failed to properly state the grounds in accordance with Cal. Civ. Proc. Code ยง 657.

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Overview

Plaintiff corporation filed suit and alleged that defendant corporation breached a contract to produce vacation resort videos, which caused plaintiff’s business to fail. The jury returned a verdict in plaintiff’s favor, and the trial court granted defendant’s motion for a new trial on the ground that the award was excessive. Defendant claimed that the order granting a new trial was defective because the trial court did not comply with Cal Civ. Proc. Code ยง 657 in that the order did not state the specification of reasons for the new trial, and the specifications that were filed were not sufficient. On review, the court found that while the grounds for a new trial had to be stated in the order, the specification of reasons was distinct from the order itself. The court held that the statute provided that the reasons for a new trial had to be stated within 10 days after granting a motion for a new trial. The court found that the specification of reasons were timely filed and held that the specifications were was sufficient because the judge furnished a concise but clear statement of the reasons why he found one or more of the grounds of the motion to be applicable to the case.

Outcome

The order granting defendant corporation a new trial on the issue of damages was affirmed because the trial court timely filed the specification of reasons within 10 days of the order granting the new trial. The court held that the reasons were sufficient because they contained clear but concise reasons why the grounds of excessive damages applied to the case.

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