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Judgment notwithstanding the verdict obtained in favor of defendant product manufacturer. Upheld on appeal.

TAMKO Building Products, Inc.
October 10, 2013

J.N.O.V. upheld on appeal.

On October 10, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant, concluding the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's verdict in favor of the plaintiff. Donato, Minx, Brown & Pool served as trial and appellate counsel for defendant TAMKO Building Products, Inc.

The facts.

On October 10, 2014, a court of appeals affirmed the judgment of a trial court in favor of a defendant product manufacturer, setting aside the jury's verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The plaintiff had hired the defendant company to construct a boardwalk around the perimeter of an island, which was to become an upscale housing community. The decking installed by the defendant was warrantied for 25 years, however the boards began deteriorating within one year of installation. Although the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, finding a breach of warranty, the trial court entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in favor of the defendant. The court of appeals affirmed.

The winning arguments.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in holding its expert was not qualified to give expert testimony, that his opinions did not rest on a reliable foundation, and that his testimony was no evidence as to the existence of a manufacturing defect or whether the deterioration in the decking was caused by a manufacturing defect. Nevertheless, the appellate court agreed with defendant counsel that the expert's opinions did not rest on a reliable foundation and, thus, constituted no evidence of causation. The plaintiff further argued that the trial court erred in requiring expert testimony when there was other sufficient evidence to support the jury verdict. In response, defendant counsel maintained the decking was a complex synthetic building product beyond the general experience and common understanding of jurors, and, thus, expert testimony was indeed required to prove causation. The appellate court again agreed with defendant counsel. Because the appellate court affirmed on these bases, it did not need to reach defendant counsel's three alternative arguments for affirming the trial court's judgment.

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