United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
court held a trial in this case beginning on November 28,
2017. Defendants moved for judgment as a matter of law
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a) after the
close of plaintiffs' case-in-chief on December 13, 2017.
The court took the motion under advisement. On December 14,
2017, the court granted the motion with respect to
plaintiffs' unjust enrichment claim, but denied it as to
plaintiffs' breach of contract claims against defendant K
& L Tank Truck Service, Inc. (“K &
close of defendants' evidence, plaintiffs move for
judgment as a matter of law on defendants' defense that
plaintiffs released defendants of their obligation to pay
John Brown his 2013 shareholder bonus. The court denied
plaintiffs' motion on December 14, 2017.
court ruled on both motions in open court, and files this
memorandum and order to explain its rulings.
Legal Standard-Judgment as Matter of Law
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state:
If a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury
trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not
have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the
party on that issue, the court may
(A) resolve the issue against the party; and
(B) grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against
the party on a claim or defense that, under the controlling
law, can be maintained or defeated only with a favorable
finding on that issue.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(a)(1)(A)-(B). Judgment as a matter of law
is appropriate when the evidence “conclusively favors
one party such that reasonable [people] could not arrive at a
contrary verdict.” Weese v. Schuckman, 98 F.3d
542, 547 (10th Cir. 1996) (quoting W. Plains Serv. Corp.
v. Ponderosa Dev. Corp., 769 F.2d 654, 656 (10th Cir.
argue that plaintiffs presented insufficient evidence such
that a reasonable jury could find the president of K & L,
defendant Alfonso Martinez, had the inherent or implied
authority to bind K & L to a contract for lifetime
employment and health insurance. Defendants state that the
interpretation of K & L's bylaws is a matter for the
court to decide. Defendants note that a contract for lifetime
employment is considered an extraordinary contract under
Kansas law and not within a president's inherent
also claim that there was no evidence of apparent authority
because John Brown was a director of K & L and had
knowledge of its bylaws and the president's authority.
Defendants contend that John Brown could not reasonably
believe the president could bind K & L to such a
contract. Similarly, there was no evidence of ratification of
an unauthorized act because ratification ...