In order to admit evidence of violations not at issue in the case but that meet the exception as outlined in 404(b), there must be a balancing to ensure that the probative value is not outweighed by the prejudicial value of the evidence. See United States v. Lebovitz, 669 F.2d 894 (3d Cir. 1982).
This Court determined at trial and affirms here that as the probative value outweighed the prejudicial value, admission of evidence of a violation of 203-4 was proper to show the intent and state of mind of defendant. See (Trial Transcript, 2/28/97, 2-6: 28-29, 140-42). Therefore, defendant's Motion for a New Trial due to admission of this evidence is denied.
B. Jury Instructions
Defendant further claims they are entitled to a new trial due to this Court's instruction to the jury concerning the legislative purposes articulated in the Pennsylvania Act. See "Legislative findings and purposes," 73 P.S. § 203-2. Miramax claims that the actual language of section 203-7 of the statute should have controlled the jury's deliberation and that allowing the jury to consider the articulated legislative purposes took that obligation away from the jury. (Def.'s Mem. at 33).
The trial transcript indicates that this Court fully and explicitly made apparent to the jury what section 203-7 requires. Each element of section 203-7 was described in detail, and the jury could not have been confused as to its function in determining whether section 203-7 had been violated. See (Trial Transcript, Instructions to Jury, 2/28/97, 18-28). Given this, there are no grounds for a new trial based on admission of this evidence. There will be no miscarriage of justice if the verdict is allowed to stand.
Defendant further claims they are entitled to a new trial because this Court did not fully explain to the jury "what is legally required to find a violation of section 203-7." (Def.'s Mem. at 33). Defendant claims that this Court's failure to instruct the jury that 1) Orson had to prove it requested films from Miramax after the 42nd day and 2) Orson had to prove that Miramax entered into an exclusive agreement for showing the film for more than 42 days constituted error of such proportions that they must now be granted a new trial. (Def.'s Mem. at 33-34).
After a through review of the record, this Court finds that Miramax's claims are without merit. The language of the statute in no way indicates that Orson must show that it specifically requested the films at issue.
Instead, the statute puts the onus on the distributor to make the films available to the subsequent run theater normally served. Accordingly, to have instructed the jury that Orson had to prove it requested the films would have been erroneous. Further, this Court did instruct the jury that they must find that Miramax entered into an exclusive agreement to show the film in excess of 42 days. See (Trial Transcript, 2/28/97, 20: 12-22, 21: 20-25, 22: 1-6, 24: 9-17, 24-26: 23-25, 1-5, 27-28, 23-25, and 1-2). Thus, Miramax's motion for a new trial based on these instructions will be denied.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 3rd day of November, 1997, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or in the Alternative New Trial, Plaintiff's Response thereto and Defendant's Reply Memorandum, it is hereby ORDERED that, for the reasons set forth in the foregoing Memorandum, the Motion is DENIED.
BY THE COURT:
J. CURTIS JOYNER, J.