United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
SHAWN MINSHALL, LISA VICTORIA MINSHALL, LAUREN VICTORIA MINSHALL
HARTMAN EQUINE REPRODUCTION CENTER, P.A.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Reconsider
Memorandum Opinion and Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion
for Entry of Judgment and Motion to Amend Final Judgment
(Dkt. #137). Having considered the pleadings, the Court finds
the motion should be denied.
April 26, 2017, the Court entered a Memorandum Opinion and
Order (Dkt. #135) and Final Judgment (Dkt. #136) finding that
Plaintiffs' damages were limited to $3, 000. As discussed
in the Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order (Dkt. #135),
the jury returned a verdict in this case on March 7, 2017,
finding Plaintiffs proved by a preponderance of the evidence
that Defendant's negligence proximately caused
Plaintiffs' damages (Dkt. #131, Question 7). The jury
found no liability against Defendant as to Plaintiffs claims
for violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,
negligent misrepresentation, fraud, joint enterprise, civil
conspiracy, and aiding and abetting (Dkt. #131).
conclusion of the evidence, the Court submitted final
instructions to the jury providing specific factors for the
jury to consider when awarding damages for each specific
cause of action (Dkt. #124). The Court instructed the jury
that if it found Defendant negligent, in awarding damages it
should consider “the difference, if any, in the market
value of Otto and the market value Otto would have had if he
had not been HERDA-affected.” (Dkt. #124 at p. 23). For
the other causes of action Plaintiffs alleged, the Court
instructed the jury that it could consider additional factors
in determining damages, such as the reasonable and necessary
expenses related to foaling, raising, boarding, and training
Otto in the past and future and Plaintiffs' lost profits
(Dkt. #124 at p. 21-24).
requested by the parties, the verdict form contained one
question regarding compensatory damages (Dkt. #131, Question
14). The question instructed the jury to answer “what
sum of money . . . would fairly and reasonably compensate
Plaintiffs for their damages, if any, that were a producing
or proximate cause of the occurrence in question” (Dkt.
#131, Question 14). This question pertained to damages for
all alleged causes of action, not just to damages for a
finding of negligence (Dkt. #131, Question 14).
March 7, 2017, the jury found Defendant's negligence
proximately caused Plaintiffs' damages, but found
Defendant was not liable under any other cause of action
(Dkt. #131). The jury awarded damages in the amount of $30,
000 for the difference in the market value Otto would have
had if he had not been HERDA-affected (Dkt. #131, Question
14). The jury then awarded additional categories of
compensatory damages, including the cost of caring for Otto
and lost profits (Dkt. #131, Question 14). The jury awarded a
total of $163, 408 in compensatory damages (Dkt. #131,
Question 14). The jury further found that Defendant was ten
percent responsible for Plaintiffs' injury (Dkt. #131,
March 30, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a motion for entry of
judgment (Dkt. #132). Plaintiffs argued they were entitled to
$16, 340.80 in damages, or ten percent of the total
compensatory damages awarded by the jury. Plaintiffs argued
that “notwithstanding the jury instruction on
negligence, compensatory damages for economic losses
proximately caused by a party's negligence are available
to the prevailing party as a matter of law in Texas.”
(Dkt. #132 at p. 3). On March 31, 2017, Defendant filed a
response stating Plaintiffs were entitled to $3, 000 in
damages, or ten percent of the difference, if any, in the
market value of Otto and the market value Otto would have had
if he had not been HERDA-affected (Dkt. #133). Defendant
argued this amount was consistent with the Court's
instruction to the jury regarding negligence.
April 26, 2017, the Court held that Plaintiffs were entitled
to $3, 000 in damages (Dkt. #135). The Court noted that the
general rule for measuring damages to personal property is
the difference in the market value immediately before and
immediately after the injury to such property. Pasadena
State Bank v. Isaac, 228 S.W.2d 127 (Tex. 1950); J
& D Towing, LLC v. Am. Alternative Ins. Corp., 478
S.W.3d 649, 661 (Tex. 2016). The Court noted that while
economic damages are also available to a prevailing party in
a negligence action, see Nobility Homes of Texas, Inc. v.
Shivers, 557 S.W.2d 77, 83 (Tex. 1977), Plaintiffs did
not object to the Court's instruction limiting negligence
damages to the difference in the market value of Otto (Dkt.
#135 at p. 4). The Court further noted that the jury's
award of additional compensatory damages was in response to
questions the jury should not have answered because the jury
only found Defendant negligent and did not find liability
under other potential theories of recovery (Dkt. #135 at p.
Court further denied Plaintiffs' request for
attorneys' fees because Plaintiffs' Third Amended
Complaint did not seek recovery of attorneys' fees under
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 38.001(6) and
the jury did not make any findings regarding whether Otto was
“injured” for purposes of Section 38.001(6) (Dkt.
#135 at p. 5).
9, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the pending motion to reconsider
(Dkt. #137). On May 15, 2017, Defendant filed a response
motion seeking “reconsideration” may be construed
under either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or 60(b).
Shepherd v. Int'l Paper Co., 372 F.3d 326, 328
n. 1 (5th Cir. 2004); see also Milazzo v. Young, No.
6:11-cv-350-JKG, 2012 WL 1867099, at *1 (E.D. Tex. May 21,
2012). Such a motion “‘calls into question the
correctness of a judgment.'” Templet v.
HydroChem Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 478 (5th Cir. 2004)
(quoting In re Transtexas Gas Corp., 303 F.3d 571,
581 (5th Cir. 2002)).
a motion for reconsideration is filed within 28 days of the
judgment or order of which the party complains, it is
considered to be a Rule 59(e) motion; otherwise, it is
treated as a Rule 60(b) motion.” Milazzo, 2012
WL 1867099, at *1; see Shepherd, 372 F.3d at 328 n.
1; Berge Helene Ltd. v. GE Oil & Gas, Inc., No.
H-08-2931, 2011 WL 798204, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 1, 2011)).
Plaintiffs filed their motion for ...