Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cosgrove v. Bartolotta case brief

Cosgrove v. Bartolotta case brief summary
150 F.3d 729 (1998)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff attorney sought review of a decision from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, granting defendant entrepreneur's motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) to alter or amend judgment after a jury awarded damages on plaintiff's claim of promissory estoppel. Defendant cross-appealed adverse jury verdicts for misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff attorney challenged the district court's granting of defendant entrepreneur's motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) to alter or amend a jury verdict for plaintiff attorney on promissory estoppel. Plaintiff agreed to loan defendant start-up capital and provide defendant legal services to start a new restaurant. In exchange, defendant promised to give plaintiff an ownership interest. Defendant accepted plaintiff's legal advice but got a loan elsewhere and did not make plaintiff a part owner. A jury awarded plaintiff damages for promissory estoppel, which the district court set aside after judgment, misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court held that although defendant erred in moving for post-judgment relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), rather than Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b), the district court 's order was reviewable. 
  • Plaintiff proved he relied to his detriment on defendant's promise to make him a part owner; thus, the district court erred in overturning the jury's verdict for promissory estoppel and in denying costs. 
  • The jury's verdicts on misrepresentation and unjust enrichment were proper. 
  • The court affirmed in part and reversed in pArticle

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the district court's order granting defendant entrepreneur's motion for post-trial relief from a jury judgment awarding plaintiff attorney damages for promissory estoppel because plaintiff detrimentally relied on defendant's oral promise to give plaintiff an ownership interest in a new venture in exchange for legal advice. The court affirmed the jury verdicts against defendant for misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

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