Watts v. Watts

152 Wis. 2d 370, 448 N.W.2d 292 (Ct. App. 1989)

 

RULE:

Wis. Sup. Ct. R. 805.16 (1987-1988) provides: If an order granting or denying a motion after verdict is not entered within 90 days after the verdict is rendered, the motion shall be deemed denied, and judgment entered on the verdict. Under Wis. Sup. Ct. R. 805.16 (1987-1988), a trial court loses its competency to decide post-verdict motions after the expiration of 90 days from the date of the jury verdict.

FACTS:

The ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend cohabitated for a period of 12 years, wherein they fraudulently claimed they were married to one another. They purchased property together, filed tax returns jointly, and had two children. Three months after the relationship ended, the ex-girlfriend sued the ex-boyfriend and sought a share of the wealth accumulated by the couple during their period of cohabitation. The case went to a jury and the jury for the ex-girlfriend in implied-in-fact contract and unjust enrichment. However, the jury awarded nothing under the implied-in-contract cause of action. More than 90 days after the verdict, the trial court granted a motion for a new trial on both issues, and both parties sought review.

ISSUE:

Whether the trial court may order a new trial beyond 90 days from the verdict.

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Review, the court affirmed the unjust enrichment award, remanded the case for a new trial on the implied-in-fact contract findings, and vacated the trial court's award of a new trial. The court held: (1) the trial court lost competency to decide post-verdict motions 90 days after the date of the jury verdict, (2) the trial court failed to give an instruction on breach as to the implied-in-contract claim, and (3) the evidence supported the unjust enrichment award.

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