Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation et al v. Snap-On Incorporated, 2-14-cv-01296 (WIED December 29, 2017, Order) (Stadtmueller, USDJ)
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Court's Questioning of Damages Expert No Basis for New Trial
The court denied defendant's motion for a new trial because defendant was not prejudiced by the court questioning defendant's damages witnesses at trial. "[Defendant] believes that the Court expressed disdain for its positions in front of the jury, coloring their evaluation of the evidence despite an instruction not to take anything from the Court’s comments during trial. . . . [Defendant's expert] reiterated that the 20 Amp Limitation is 'just a test specification. No tool actually does that.' The Court responded, 'Understood, but that’s what patents are all about.' This lone comment, even if it could be seen as disparaging [the expert's] opinion, was not prejudicial. The Court’s one-liner did not unravel the prior thirty minutes of questioning. . . . The Court did accuse [defendant] of 'flailing in the wind,' but this was no more than the Court’s suggestion that the point had been made and it was time to move forward. . . . The trial record was replete with evidence supporting the jury’s damages determination, and the Court’s few comments and questions had little, if any, effect in the grand scheme."