United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HONORABLE SARA LIOI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are post-judgment motions for judgment as a matter
of law filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) by defendant IIP Ohio,
LLC (“IIP Ohio”) (Doc. No. 205 [“IIP Ohio
Mot.”]) and defendant Davor Rom (“Rom”)
(Doc. No. 213 [“Rom Mot.”]). Plaintiffs Xudong
Song and Sunshine International, LLC (collectively,
“Song”) filed briefs in opposition to each
motion. (Doc. No. 206 [“IIP Ohio Mot.
Opp'n”]; Doc. No. 222 [“Rom Mot.
Opp'n”].) IIP Ohio and Rom filed replies. (Doc. No.
209 [“IIP Ohio Mot. Reply”]; Doc. No. 225
[“Rom Mot. Reply”].) As set forth herein, the
motion of IIP Ohio, LLC (Doc. No. 205) is
granted and the motion of Davor Rom (Doc.
No. 213) is denied.
attached a chart to plaintiffs' brief in opposition to
Rom's motion. (Doc. No. 222-1.) Both defendants have
moved to strike this chart. (Doc. No. 224 [“Mot.
Strike”].) Song filed an opposition brief (Doc. No. 227
[“Mot. Strike Opp'n”]) and defendants filed a
reply (Doc. No. 228 [“Mot. Strike Reply”]). As
set forth herein, defendants' motion to strike is
Chinese national who invests in real estate, sued IIP Ohio
and Rom alleging fraudulent inducement with respect to his
purchase of certain rental properties in Ohio. (See
Doc. No. 67, Third Amended Complaint, Count One.) Song
claimed that he was promised double-digit returns on his
investment, but the anticipated income never materialized due
to the allegedly undisclosed condition of the properties. A
jury trial was conducted and, on June 30, 2017, verdicts in
favor of Song were entered against each defendant separately.
However, when it came to the award of actual damages, the
jury awarded $0 against IIP Ohio and $50, 000.00 against Rom.
No. punitive damages were awarded against either defendant.
(See Doc. No. 202 at 8102 and 8103.)
Ohio seeks judgment as a matter of law, claiming that, given
the zero award of damages, Song failed to establish the sixth
element of a fraudulent inducement claim as to IIP Ohio. Rom
also seeks judgment, claiming that there is insufficient
evidence in the record to support the award of $50, 000.00
and, in any event, the “no-reliance” clause in
all of the agreements between the parties precludes recovery.
Standard of Review
as a matter of law is appropriate only when, construing the
evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
“‘there is a complete absence of fact to support
the verdict, so that no reasonable juror could have found for
the nonmoving party.'” Kiphart v. Saturn
Corp., 251 F.3d 573, 581 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Moore v. KUKA Welding Sys. & Robot Corp., 171
F.3d 1073, 1078 (6th Cir. 1999)). The Court does not
“weigh the evidence, evaluate the credibility of the
witnesses, or substitute [its] judgment for that of the
jury.” Black v. Zaring Homes, Inc., 104 F.3d
822, 825 (6th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). “If
reasonable minds could differ as to the import of the
evidence, however, a verdict should not be directed.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
250-51, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) (citing
Wilkerson v. McCarthy, 336 U.S. 53, 62, 69 S.Ct.
413, 93 L.Ed. 497 (1949)).
Fraud in the Inducement
jury was instructed that, to establish fraud in the
inducement, Song had to prove the following by a
preponderance of the evidence: (1) a representation made by
the defendant that relates to the past or to the present; (2)
the representation is material to the transaction at hand;
(3) the representation was made falsely, with knowledge of
its falsity, or with such utter disregard and recklessness
towards the truth or falsity of the representation that
knowledge may be inferred; (4) the representation was made
with an intent to mislead another into relying on it; (5)
actual justified reliance by the plaintiff on the
representation; and, (6) resulting injury to the plaintiff
proximately caused by the reliance.
IIP Ohio's Motion (Doc. No. 205)
Ohio moves for judgment as a matter of law, arguing that, in
light of the jury's award of $0 in actual damages against
IIP Ohio, “reasonable minds could only conclude that
plaintiffs had not satisfied their burden of proof as to the
sixth element of their fraudulent inducement claim when
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to
plaintiffs.” (IIP Ohio Mot. at 8121.)
Ohio is correct. “Resulting injury” is an
element of the claim of fraudulent inducement, and
Song failed to establish that element as to IIP Ohio, as
reflected by the jury's answer to Interrogatory No. 2.
(Doc. No. 201 at 8082.) As a result, IIP Ohio is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law on the fraudulent inducement
claim. See, Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) (holding that
summary judgment is mandated “against a party who
fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case, and on
which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial”); Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. v.
Ogle, No. 97-3910, 1998 WL 879583 at *4 (6th Cir. Nov.
25, 1998) (it was not error to grant summary judgment ...