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Court of Appeals refuses to overturn jury verdict regarding building fire

The owners of the vacant Bagley Building in Detroit sued the company that was demolishing an adjacent building, the Statler-Hiltorn Hotel, after the Bagley Building was damaged by fire.  The owners claimed that the fire in the Bagley Building was caused by the Defendant's demolition activities.  The jury disagreed, and the owners argued on appeal that the jury's decision was "against the great weight of the evidence."  

One of the owners' primary complaints was that the terms of a $1.9 million dollar settlement with AAA, who held a leasehold interest in the Bagley Building, should not have been disclosed to the jury.  The Court held that the disclosure was reasonable given its relevance to the potential bias of the witnesses associated with AAA.  Reviewing the opinion in its entirety helps to illustrate how hard it is to convince a court to overturn a jury verdict, even if the verdict appears by hindsight to be a mistake:  Courts are simply very reluctant to second-guess a jury's verdict post-decision (unless the Court is composed of Engler appointees and the verdict is against an insurer, anyway). 

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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