Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ocp, S.A. v. Colorado Otr, LP

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

December 10, 2013

OCP, S.A., Plaintiff,
v.
COLORADO OTR, LP, HARRIS-MacCLAIN ENTERPRISES, LLC, and JASON BRADLEY HARRIS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON POST-TRIAL MOTIONS

EWING WERLEIN, Jr., District Judge.

Pending is Defendants' Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and Alternative Motion for New Trial (Document No. 114). After carefully considering the motion, response, and applicable law, the Court concludes for the reasons that follow that both motions should be denied.

Plaintiff OCP, S.A.'s ("Plaintiff") suit against Defendants Colorado OTR, LP ("Colorado"), Harris-McClain Enterprises, LLC ("Harris-McClain"), and Jason Bradley Harris ("Harris, " and collectively, "Defendants") was for breach of contract and warranty claims arising out of Plaintiff's purchase from Colorado of 42 offthe-road tires for use in its mining operations in Morocco. The Jury returned a Verdict for Plaintiff OCP, S.A. ("Plaintiff") on all controlling questions.[1] Plaintiff elected to recover under its breach of contract claim, [2] and the Court entered Final Judgment on August 23, 2013, awarding to Plaintiff recovery of the total sum of $3, 888, 698.65 from Defendants jointly and severally.[3] Defendants now move for judgment as a matter of law, or alternatively, for a new trial.[4] Defendants contend there was insufficient proof from which a reasonable jury could find that Harris participated in the control of Colorado or that Plaintiff reasonably believed Harris was a general partner of Colorado so as to hold him individually liable. They further argue that there was insufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that Plaintiff revoked its acceptance of the tires, that the tires were non-conforming or defective at the time of delivery, or that the value of the tires accepted by Plaintiff was $0. They also contend that Plaintiff is not entitled to recover attorneys' fees in conjunction with its claim for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. In the alternative, Defendants move for a new trial.[5]

I. Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law

A. Legal Standard

A motion for judgment as a matter of law should be granted if "there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for a party." Pineda v. United Parcel Serv., Inc. , 360 F.3d 483, 486 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 50(a)). "A court should grant a post-judgment motion for judgment as a matter of law only when the facts and inferences point so strongly in favor of the movant that a rational jury could not reach a contrary verdict." Allstate Ins. Co. v. Receivable Fin. Co., L.L.C. , 501 F.3d 398, 405 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations omitted). When evaluating the sufficiency of the evidence, the Court views all evidence and draws all inferences in the light most favorable to the verdict. Id.

B. Analysis

1. Whether there was sufficient evidence that (1) Harris participated in control and (2) Plaintiff reasonably believed that he was a general partner

The Jury found that Harris participated in control and that Plaintiff reasonably believed that he was a general partner.[6] See TEX. BUS. ORG. CODE § 153.102(b) ("If the limited partner participates in the control of the business, the limited partner is liable only to a person who transacts business with the limited partnership reasonably believing, based on the limited partner's conduct, that the limited partner is a general partner.").

Defendants argue that there is no evidence that Harris participated in the control of the business so as to render him liable, because he engaged only in conduct protected by the Safe Harbor' provisions of Section 153.103.[7] See TEX. BUS. ORG. CODE § 153.103(1)(A), (B), and (E) (Vernon 2007) (A limited partner does not participate in control by acting as "an agent or employee of the limited partnership, " "an agent or employee of a general partner, " or "a member or manager of a limited liability company that is a general partner of the limited partnership."). Defendants allege Harris was acting at all times in his capacity as Harris-McClain's Managing Member and President or as Colorado's President and CEO.[8]

The evidence at trial, however, was that while negotiating the contract with Plaintiff, Harris signed correspondence identifying himself as "Partner-Colorado OTR LP, " not as an agent, employee, or officer of the partnership.[9] Moreover, he also handed out business cards representing himself as "partner."[10] Plaintiff's witnesses testified that they believed Harris was the person in charge at Colorado, and that they at the time were unaware that he was also the President of the company.[11] Plaintiff adduced ample evidence to support the Jury's findings that Harris participated in the control of Colorado OTR as if he were a general partner, and that as a result of Harris's conduct Plaintiff reasonably believed that Harris was a general partner when it agreed to the contract.

2. Whether there was sufficient evidence that Plaintiff revoked its acceptance of the tires

To recover on a breach of contract claim, a buyer must show either that it rejected or that it revoked acceptance of the goods. See TEX. BUS. & COMM. CODE § 2.711. The Jury found that Plaintiff revoked its acceptance of the tires.[12]

Defendants argue that there was no evidence that Plaintiff revoked its acceptance or notified Plaintiff of the revocation.[13] Plaintiff's evidence, however, was that in June, 2009, Colorado's representatives traveled to Morocco and conducted a week-long investigation into the causes of the tire failures.[14] At the end of that week, the Colorado representatives met with Plaintiff's employees, and the parties concluded that the tires were "not fit for use" on Plaintiff's trucks, and that "Colorado agrees to replace as soon as possible all of the tires (42) under warranty."[15] When Colorado had failed to replace the tires by March, 2010, Plaintiff sent a letter complaining that the replacement still had not occurred, and requesting that Colorado "please respect your commitment."[16] This is sufficient evidence to support a rational Jury's finding that Plaintiff revoked its acceptance and provided adequate notice to Defendants. See Emerson Elec. Co. v. Am. Permanent Ware Co. , 201 S.W.3d 301, 311 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, no pet.) (there was sufficient evidence to support a finding that buyer rejected or revoked acceptance ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.