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Green Oil Co. v. Hornsby

Supreme Court of Alabama

January 13, 1989, Filed

No. 86-1553

Opinion

 [*219]  On April 17, 1986, Green Oil Company filed a two-count complaint against Dean Hornsby and Sheila Hornsby, d/b/a Hornsby's Grocery, for the recovery of certain personal property, including gasoline pumps and an underground tank, and on an open account for gasoline delivered and not paid for. The Hornsbys denied the debt on open account but admitted that the personal property belonged to Green Oil Company, and they filed a counterclaim alleging breach of contract and fraud. Green Oil Company filed a general denial to the counterclaim. The case was tried to a jury. The jury awarded Green Oil Company $ 2,000 and awarded the Hornsbys compensatory damages of $ 14,704.06 and punitive damages of $ 150,000. After Green Oil Company appealed to this Court, the case was remanded to the trial court for a hearing [**2]  on the question of excessiveness of the jury verdict, pursuant to Hammond v. City of Gadsden, 493 So.2d 1374 (Ala. 1986). Following the Hammond hearing, the trial court ordered a new trial conditioned upon the Hornsbys' refusal to accept a remittitur of $ 125,000 in punitive damages. The Hornsbys accepted the trial court's remittitur of $ 125,000, reserving the right to question the trial court's decision on remittitur in the event Green Oil Company continued to prosecute the appeal pending in this Court.

We have searched the record and have been unable to find where Green Oil Company filed a motion for a directed verdict at any time during the trial of this case. Therefore, Green Oil Company's first issue, whether the trial court erred in refusing to grant its motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, cannot be considered by this Court. Rule 50(b), Ala.R.Civ.P., provides in pertinent part:

] "Whenever a motion for a directed verdict made at the close of all the evidence  [*220]  is denied or for any reason is not granted, the court is deemed to have submitted the action to the jury subject to a later determination of the legal questions raised by the motion. Not later than  [**3]  30 days after entry of judgment, a party who has moved for a directed verdict may file a motion to have the verdict and any judgment entered thereon set aside and to have judgment entered in accordance with his motion for a directed verdict. . . ."

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539 So. 2d 218 *; 1989 Ala. LEXIS 30 **

Green Oil Company, a partnership v. Dean Hornsby and Sheila Hornsby, d/b/a Hornsby's Grocery

Prior History:   [**1]  Appeal from Macon County Circuit Court, James A. Avary, Judge.

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

punitive damages, trial court, damages, award of punitive damages, jury verdict, remittitur, gasoline, new trial, punish, preponderance of evidence, directed verdict, accomplish

Civil Procedure, Judgments, Relief From Judgments, General Overview, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, Entry of Judgments, Appeals, Standards of Review, Motions for New Trials, Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Rights, Trial by Jury in Civil Actions, Jury Trials, Right to Jury Trial, Additur & Remittitur, Remedies, Damages, Punitive Damages, Torts, Punitive Damages, Measurement of Damages, Types of Damages, Criminal Law & Procedure, Verdicts, Jurors, Misconduct, Availability, Governmental Entities, Judicial Review