United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
AMERICAN NATIONAL PROPERTY AND CASUALTY COMPANY, Plaintiff and Counterclaim-Defendant,
DANIEL J. FELIX, Defendant and Counterclaimant.
GIBSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are post-trial motions that the parties filed
following a jury verdict in this case rendered on December 4,
2018. (ECF No. 218.) Defendant-Counterclaimant Daniel J.
Felix filed two post-trial motions-a Motion to Alter Judgment
to Include Prejudgment and Post-Judgment Interest (ECF No.
219) and a Motion to Alter Judgment to Add Costs Pursuant to
Rule 54(d) (ECF No. 220). Plaintiff and
Counterclaim-Defendant American National Property and
Casualty Company ("ANPAC") filed a Motion to Alter
Judgment, Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, and Motion
for New Trial (ECF No. 223). The Court held oral argument on
these Motions on May 2, 2019. (See ECF No. 260.)
These Motions are fully briefed (see ECF Nos.
224-29, 232-33, 255) and are ripe for disposition.
case arises from ANPAC's denial of Felix's claim
under his ANPAC homeowner's insurance policy (the
"Policy") after a fire destroyed his home in 2016.
time of the January 23, 2016 fire, Felix's home and its
contents were insured under ANPAC homeowner's insurance
policy number 37-H-778-98P. (ECF No. 169 ¶¶ 2-3.)
All premiums were paid and the Policy was in effect on
January 23, 2016. (Id. ¶ 3.) The Policy's
major provisions provided coverage for loss of dwelling, loss
of personal property, and loss of use. (ECF No. 51-1 at 8.)
Policy also contained a "Fraud" provision,
Section I and Section II - Conditions
2. Concealment or Fraud. This entire policy shall be void if,
whether before or after any loss, any insured has willfully
concealed or misrepresented any material fact or circumstance
concerning this insurance or the subject thereof, or the
interest of any insured therein, or in case of any fraud or
false swearing by any insured relating thereto.
(ECF No. 51-1; ECF No. 47 ¶ 3; ECF No. 57 ¶ 3.) At
trial, ANPAC's counsel referred to this provision as the
"honesty provision." (ECF No. 239 at 16:20.)
The Fire at Felix's Home and Subsequent Insurance
owned a property located at 975 Frankstown Road in Sidman,
Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 169 ¶ 1.) In 2013, a fire
entirely destroyed Felix's home located at that
property. (ECF No. 52 ¶¶ 27, 46, 49; ECF
No. 54 ¶¶ 27, 46, 49.) The 2013 fire was caused by
an electrical failure. (ECF No. 52 ¶ 24.) Felix's
home was insured by an ANPAC homeowner's insurance
policy, and ANPAC paid Felix $426, 000 to cover his losses.
(Id. ¶ 27.) Using the insurance proceeds from
the 2013 fire, Felix built a new home on the property in
2014, which was eventually destroyed in the 2016 fire.
(Id. ¶¶ 28-33.)
the 2013 fire, Felix built a one-family home on the property.
(ECF No. 51-1 at 8.) On January 23, 2016, Felix's home
and its contents were destroyed by another fire. (ECF No. 149
¶ 1.) On January 25, 2016, Felix notified ANPAC of the
fire at his home. (ECF No. 239 at 29:22-30:20.) Felix
submitted a claim for about $1, 074, 000 in losses comprising
of $744, 000.00 in dwelling replacement costs, $60, 000.00 in
loss of use, and $270, 000.00 in loss of contents. (ECF No.
51-3 at 32.) ANPAC requested that Felix submit a Sworn
Statement in Proof of Loss ("Proof of Loss")
detailing the possessions destroyed in the fire. (ECF No. 52
¶ 35; ECF No. 54 ¶ 35.)
ANPAC's Investigation After the 2016 Fire
initially assigned the investigation into the 2016 fire to
Martin Van Dyke, a large-loss specialist in ANPAC's
claims department. (ECF No. 239 at 30:12-18, 33:20-22.)
Eventually, ANPAC's claims department referred
Felix's claim to the special investigations unit
("SIU"), where it was assigned to SIU investigator
Kip Mathena. At trial, Mathena and Cory Campbell -a claims
adjuster in ANPAC's property department-testified
extensively about ANPAC's post-fire
investigation. (See ECF Nos. 239-41, 244.)
ANPAC investigated the cause of the fire. (See ECF
No. 52 ¶¶ 41-43.) ANPAC hired outside investigators
and corresponded with the Pennsylvania State Police during
its cause-and-origin investigation. (Id.
¶¶ 40-44, 52-59.) No. criminal charges were filed
against Felix. (See ECF No. 188.) In April of 2016,
ANPAC's outside investigator submitted a cause-and-origin
report which indicated that the cause of the fire was
"undetermined." (ECF No. 52 ¶ 74; ECF No. 54
the investigation into the fire's cause, Felix submitted
a Proof-of-Loss form detailing the contents of his home which
were destroyed in the fire. (Id.) The Proof-of-Loss
form requires the insured to provide a quantity, description,
and actual cash value of the items. (Id. at
13:11-12.) It also requests evidence to "support
ownership" of the items through documentation like
receipts, invoices, and credit-card statements. (Id.
February of 2016, Mathena requested that Felix submit to an
examination under oath with Pittsburgh-based attorney Joseph
Hudock. (Id. at 43:15-19, 44:1-10.) ANPAC hired
Hudock as local counsel to assist in the handling of
Felix's claim. (ECF No. 52 ¶ 50; ECF No. 54 ¶
50.) Felix attended the examination under oath on March 30,
2016. (ECF No. 240 at 30:1-3.)
the statement under oath, Hudock questioned Felix about
various items on his Proof-of-Loss form. (ECF No. 246 at
6:21-7:10.) Felix confirmed that the fire destroyed a Louis
Vuitton purse. (ECF No. 52 ¶ 68; ECF No. 54 ¶ 68.)
Felix stated that he purchased the Louis Vuitton purse for
Kelly Madison, his ex-fiancee, but that she had returned it
to Felix after their relationship ended. (ECF No. 52 ¶
68; ECF No. 52 ¶ 68.) Felix also confirmed that he lost
a pair of 1.5 carat earrings in the fire. (ECF No. 52
¶ 63(a); ECF No. 54 ¶ 63(a).)
ANPAC investigated Felix's claim, it was contacted by Ron
Madison, the father of Felix's former fiance. (ECF No.
240 at 63:15-19.) Ron Madison contacted Mathena several
times. (Id. at 67:16-17.) After multiple
conversations between Ron Madison and Mathena, Ron Madison
informed ANPAC (through Mathena and Hudock) that two items on
Felix's Proof-of-Loss form -a Louis Vuitton purse and a
pair of diamond stud earrings-were not actually destroyed.
(Id. at 70:11-24.) Ron Madison informed Hudock that
his daughter, Kelly, still had a Louis Vuitton purse and
diamond earrings that Felix had given her for Christmas. (ECF
No. 243 at 10:5-12:2.)
Proof-of-Loss form, Felix stated that he purchased the
earrings from Littman Jewelers for $1, 906.94, that he used a
credit card to purchase the earrings, and that he had a
receipt from the purchase. (ECF No. 51-3 at 40.) Felix stated
that he purchased the purse from a Louis Vuitton store for
$1, 358, that he used a credit card to purchase the purse,
but that he did not have a receipt. (Id. at 53.)
then investigated whether Felix misrepresented that the Louis
Vuitton purse and diamond earrings were destroyed in the
fire. On May 31, 2016, Ron Madison sent pictures of the Louis
Vuitton purse and earrings to ANPAC. (ECF No. 240 at 73:3-9.)
Attorney Hudock spoke with Kelly Madison and verified that
the Louis Vuitton purse and diamond earrings were in her
possession. (Id. at 74:20-24.) Around that time,
ANPAC arranged for Hudock to conduct a second examination
under oath. (Id. at 73:20-23.) Mathena obtained text
messages between Felix and Kelly Madison where Felix inquired
about the whereabouts of the Louis Vuitton
purse. (Id. at 80:21-25.) Finally,
Mathena requested that Hudock review case law to see whether
ANPAC could deny Felix's insurance claim based on
misrepresentations about the Louis Vuitton purse and diamond
earrings. (Id. at 75:4-12; 78:15-20.)
the investigation, Felix submitted a supplemental
Proof-of-Loss form claiming that an additional $66, 000 worth
of property was destroyed in the fire. (ECF No. 240 at
55:5-9; ECF No. 244 at 15:1-16.) ANPAC hired a vendor,
Enservio, to value the contents of Felix's home that were
destroyed in the fire. (ECF No. 244 at 17:19-25.) ANPAC hired
another vendor called Summit Claims Services LLC to inspect
the damage to Felix's home and estimate the cost to
replace his home. (Id. at 64:20-67:1.)
Campbell also testified about "loss of use" after
the fire. (ECF No. 244 at 9:8-13.) "Loss of use" is
the term for the living expenses that an insured incurs after
a property is destroyed. (Id.) ANPAC paid Felix $30,
000 as an advance for living expenses while ANPAC processed
his fire-loss claim. (Id. at 54:18-55:22.) ANPAC
also offered Felix $3, 310 per month, which was based on the
fair market value for a rental dwelling and furnishings near
Sidman, Pennsylvania. (Id. at 109:18-23.) Felix
did not accept ANPAC's offer. (Id. at
ANPAC Denies Felix's Claim
31, 2016, ANPAC had determined that Felix engaged in
misrepresentation and false swearing by falsely claiming that
certain property was destroyed in the fire. (Id. at
79:17-19.) Then, on June 10, 2016, Attorney Hudock sent a
letter to ANPAC summarizing Felix's second examination
under oath. (Id. at 84:13-19.) In that letter,
Hudock stated that "[b]ased on Pennsylvania law, which
follows the majority view that a single fraudulent material
misrepresentation can void the entire policy, I believe ANPAC
... is within its rights to deny this entire
claim." (Id. at 85:9-13.)
week after receiving Hudock's June 10 opinion letter,
ANPACs Claims Committee "decided that the
misrepresentations presented in Mr. Felix's claims
resulted in a denial of the claim in its entirety."
(Id. at 90:22-24; see also ECF No. 244 at
11:2-10.) ANPAC sent Felix a letter on June 23, 2016 to
advise him that it denied coverage for his claim due to
material misrepresentations. (ECF No. 240 at 91:11-14.)
Evidence Presented at Trial
Items Other Than Louis Vuitton Purse and Diamond
attempted to prove that Felix misrepresented that items were
destroyed in the fire. First, ANPAC introduced evidence that
the Louis Vuitton purse and diamond earrings were destroyed
in the fire. Both Kelly and Ron Madison testified that Felix
gave Kelly Madison a Louis Vuitton purse and a pair of
diamond earrings. (ECF No. 242 at 6:6-9:4; ECF No. 243 at
10:2-15.) Kelly Madison brought the Louis Vuitton purse and
diamond earrings to the courtroom with her. (ECF No. 242 at
rebutted the testimony of Kelly and Ron Madison by suggesting
that Felix had two Louis Vuitton purses and two pairs of
diamond earrings -and that only one Louis Vuitton purse and
one pair of diamond earrings were destroyed in the
fire. (See Id. at 132:1-15; ECF No.
243 at 40:19-41:8.) Felix presented one witness at trial, his
friend Jessica Bloom, who testified that she saw a second
Louis Vuitton purse and a second pair of diamond earrings in
Felix's home before the fire. (ECF No. 250 at 7:4-11:1,
ANPAC tried to prove that various other items on Felix's
Proof-of-Loss form - 300 pounds of meat, golf clubs, cameras,
a Movado watch, clothing from the store Buckle, and Christmas
presents from Toys-R-Us-were not actually destroyed in the
testified that Felix claimed that roughly 300 pounds of meat
was destroyed in the fire. (ECF No. 240 at 18:2-24.) Mathena
also testified that Felix did not claim that an external
freezer was destroyed in the fire, which suggests that Felix
did not possess adequate freezer space to store 300 pounds of
Merrill testified that Felix claimed several items on his
Proof-of-Loss form that were not destroyed in the fire.
Felix's golf clubs were in her garage when the fire
occurred. (ECF No. 248 at 94:3-11.) Felix claimed that those
same golf clubs were destroyed in the fire. (See ECF
No. 51-3 at 49.) Merrill testified that Felix claimed a GoPro
camera on his Proof-of-Loss form but that she saw him take
the GoPro on a ski trip after the fire. (ECF No. 248 at
90:13-92:14.) Merrill also testified that Felix possessed a
Nikon camera after the fire, despite his claiming that a
Nikon camera was destroyed in the fire. (Id. at
92:15-93:15.) And Merrill testified that Felix left a Movado
watch at her house sometime after the fire, which she
suspected that Felix claimed was destroyed in the fire.
(Id. at 75:2-6.)
Merrill testified that Felix misrepresented that certain
items of Buckle clothing and children's toys were
destroyed in the fire. Felix claimed $816.16 of Buckle
clothing and $136.11 in toys from Toys-R-Us on his
Proof-of-Loss form. (ECF No. 51-4 at 17.) At trial,
ANPAC's counsel introduced receipts for Felix's
purchases at Buckle and Toys-R-Us. (ECF No. 248 at
151:15-18.) Merrill testified that she and her children were
in possession of the items that Felix purchased at Buckle and
Toys-R-Us, and therefore that those items were not destroyed
in the fire. (Id. at 151:1-153:14.)
Felix's Arrest for Breaking Into Merrill's
trial, ANPAC's counsel read a stipulation of facts about
Felix breaking into Merrill's home. (See ECF No. 249 at
52-58.) On January 16, 2018, Felix broke into Merrill's
home in Allegany County, Maryland, and stole approximately
$1, 700 of Merrill's property. (ECF No. 197 at 2.) Felix
eventually admitted to breaking into Merrill's home and
was convicted of burglary. (Id. at 2-3; ECF No. 249
at 52:21-57:2.) The District Court of Maryland for Allegany
County found Felix guilty of felony theft of property valued
between $1, 500 and $2, 500. (ECF No. 197 at 2-3.) The
stipulation of facts at trial stated, in short, that Felix
broke into Merrill's home and stole lingerie and a gift
card. (ECF No. 249 at 53:21-56:7.)
Evidence of Felix's Financial Condition
retained Douglas S. King, a certified public accountant, to
conduct a "lifestyle analysis" of Felix's
financial situation. (See ECF No. 161-3; ECF No.
245.) A lifestyle analysis is a forensic accounting technique
where an accountant analyzes an individual's income and
spending habits over time. (ECF No. 245 at 5:1-4.) Here,
ANPAC asked King "to review [Felix's] records and
documents that were submitted by Mr. Felix to ANPAC in
support of his fire loss claim and spending contents of his
proof of loss statement." (Id. at 7:12-15.)
conducted in-depth analyses of Felix's finances. King
testified that Felix spent almost all his income -which
totaled roughly $300, 000 -in the three years leading up to
the fire. (Id. at 12:22-23.) The upshot of his
testimony was that Felix "was basically overspending his
income, so he was in an overextended situation and was really
living off debt." (Id. at 23:22-24:2.) King
also noted that Felix did not submit bank statements and
other financial data that King requested. (Id. at
24, 2016, one day after making its decision to deny coverage,
ANPAC filed its Complaint against Felix. (See ECF
No. 1.) ANPAC's Complaint contained two counts: (1) a
claim for a declaratory judgment that the Policy is void and
that ANPAC had no obligation to indemnify Felix for the fire
loss because Felix made material misrepresentations in his
claim after the fire; and (2) a civil insurance fraud claim
under Pennsylvania law. (Id.)
Answer, Felix asserted several affirmative defenses and
brought two counterclaims against ANPAC: (1) a
breach-of-contract counterclaim alleging that ANPAC violated
the Policy by failing to indemnify Felix for the fire loss;
and (2) a counterclaim under Pennsylvania's bad-faith
statute. (ECF No. 6.)
conducting discovery, both parties filed motions for summary
judgment. (See ECF Nos. 45-47, 50-54,
58-59, 64-68, 71.) The Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and
Order on the parties' motions for summary judgment on
April 11, 2018. (ECF No. 72.) The Court denied Felix's
Motion for Summary Judgment in full. (Id. at 19-23.)
The Court granted ANPAC's partial motion for summary
judgment and dismissed Felix's bad-faith counterclaim.
(Id. at 11-16.) ANPAC's claims and Felix's
breach-of-contract counterclaim survived summary judgment.
(Id.) The Court scheduled the case for a jury trial
beginning on November 26, 2019. (ECF No. 73.)
trial, the parties filed motions in limine. (ECF
Nos. 83-135, 138-170.) The Court issued eleven orders on the
motions in limine on November 21, 2018. (ECF Nos.
187-97.) The Court's rulings are summarized as follows:
(1) evidence of the prior March 29, 2013 fire at Felix's
property was inadmissible because it was not relevant and,
even if relevant, was inadmissible because the probative
value of evidence of the prior fire was substantially
outweighed by potential prejudice (ECF No. 187);
(2) Felix was not permitted to introduce evidence that the
Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office chose not to
prosecute Felix for insurance fraud (ECF No. 188);
(3) ANPAC was permitted to introduce evidence that Felix
misrepresented that items other than the Louis Vuitton purse
and diamond earrings were destroyed in the 2016 fire (ECF No.
(4) Ron Madison was permitted to testify without limitation
at trial (ECF No. 190);
(5) accounting expert Douglas S. King was permitted to
testify at trial and his expert report was admissible (ECF
(6) text messages between Felix and Merrill were generally
admissible, subject to objection at trial (ECF No. 192);
(7) Merrill was permitted to testify at trial (ECF No. 193);
(8) evidence of suspicions of arson and the cause-and-origin
investigation related to the 2016 fire were inadmissible (ECF
Nos. 194, 200);
(9) evidence of Felix's emotional distress was
inadmissible except to rebut and explain evidence that Felix
threatened Kelly Madison (ECF No. 195);
(10) text messages between Felix and Kelly Madison were
admissible and Kelly Madison was permitted to testify at
trial that she thought Felix wanted her to lie to ANPAC's
investigators (ECF No. 196); and
(11) evidence that Felix's broke into Merrill's home
was admissible (ECF No. 197).
jury trial in this matter began on November 26, 2018.
(See ECF No. 201.) The trial lasted for seven days.
(See ECF No. 216 at 2.)
December 4, 2018, the jury returned its verdict. (ECF No.
218.) The jury found against ANPAC on both its declaratory
judgment claim and its civil insurance fraud claim.
(Id.) The jury found in Felix's favor on his
breach-of-contract counterclaim. (Id.) The jury
awarded Felix compensatory damages in the following amounts:
$727, 024.33 for loss of dwelling, $501, 516 for loss of
contents, $146, 620 for loss of use, and $3, 800 for
excavation services from Robert L. Felix. (Id.) The
jury also wrote "plus 25% endorsement" beside its
award for loss of dwelling, so the Court added $181, 756.08
to the jury's loss-of-dwelling award. (Id.)
Accordingly, the Court entered judgment in Felix's favor
for a total of $1, 560, 716.41. (ECF No. 257.) After trial,
the parties filed in the instant post-trial motions.
Court has subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1332 because the parties are completely diverse and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Venue is proper under
28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because a substantial portion of the
events giving rise to the claims occurred in the Western
District of Pennsylvania.
Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:
If a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury
trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not
have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the
party on that issue, the court may: (A) resolve the issue
against the party; and (B) grant a motion for judgment as a
matter of law against the party on a claim or defense that,
under the controlling law, can be maintained or defeated only
with a favorable finding on that issue.
Civ. P. 50.
should grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law only if
"'there is no legally sufficient basis for a
reasonable jury' to find in favor of the non-moving
party. In making this determination, the District Court
'must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party, and it may not make credibility
determinations or waive evidence.'" Sullivan v.
Cty. of Allegheny, 112 Fed.Appx. 176, 178 (3d Cir. 2004)
(quoting Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods.,
Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 149 (2000)); see Trabal v.
Wells Fargo Armored Serv. Corp., 269 F.3d 243, 249 (3d
Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Powell v. ].T. Posey Co., 766 F.2d 131, 133-34 (3d
Cir. 1985)) (stating that a court should grant a motion for
judgment as a matter of law "only if, as a matter of
law, the record is critically deficient of that minimum
quantity of evidence from which a jury might reasonably
afford relief"). When deciding a motion for judgment as
a matter of law, a district court "must refrain from
weighing the evidence, determining the credibility of
witnesses, or substituting [its] own version of the facts for
that of the jury." Marra v. Phila. Hous. Auth.,
497 F.3d 286, 300 (3d Cir. 2007) (citing Lightning Lube,
Inc. v. Witco Corp., 4 F.3d 1153, 1166 (3d Cir. 1993)).
"[f]ederal courts do not follow the rule that a
scintilla of evidence is enough" to defeat a motion for
judgment as a matter of law. Sullivan, 112 Fed.Appx.
at 178 (citing Walter v. Holiday Inns, Inc., 985
F.2d 1232, 1238 (3d Cir. 1993)). As the Third Circuit has
repeatedly held, "[t]he question is not whether there is
literally no evidence supporting the party against whom the
motion is directed but whether there is evidence upon which
the jury could properly find a verdict for that party."
Id. at 178 (quoting Walter, 985 F.2d at
1238); Foster v. Nat'l Fuel Gas Co., 316 F.3d
424, 428 (3d Cir. 2003) (quoting Walter, 985 F.2d at
1238); Vincler & Knoll v. Paul, 54 Fed.Appx. 66,
68 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting Walter, 985 F.2d at
1238); Ambrose v. Twp. of Robinson, 303 F.3d 488,
493 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting Patzig v. O'Neil,
577 F.2d 841, 846 (3d Cir. 1978)).
Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment
Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) provides that "[a] motion
to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28
days after the entry of the judgment." FED. R. Civ. P.
59(e). A motion filed under Rule 59(e) primarily serves to
correct analytical errors in a prior decision of the court.
See United States v. Fiorelli, 337 F.3d 282, 288 (3d
Cir. 2003). Under Rule 59(e), "a judgment may be altered
or amended if the party seeking reconsideration shows at
least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change
in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence
that was not available when the court granted the motion for
summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of
law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice."
Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v.
Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). Motions to
amend or alter judgments under Rule 59(e) are the proper
vehicle to correct a jury verdict that is manifest error or
shocks the judicial conscience. Delamor Enter., L.P. v.
Fire-X Sales & Serv., No. 4:07-cv-878, 2010 WL
11556562, at *3 (M.D. Pa. May 17, 2010).
federal courts have a strong interest in finality of
judgments, motions for reconsideration should be granted
sparingly." Bolick v. DFS Servs., LLC, No.
10-5211, 2012 WL 13018253, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 25, 2012)
(citing United States v. Babalola, 248 Fed.Appx.
409, 411 (3d Cir. 2007)); see also Mack v. Yost, No.
3:10-264, 2014 WL 14710689, at *1 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 3, 2014)
motions for interest can also be raised under Rule 59(e).
See, e.g., Delamor, 2010 WL 11556562, at *1 (citing
Schacke v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp. Severance Plan for
Salaried Emp., 960 F.2d 1187, 1192 (3d Cir. 1992)).
Motion for New Trial
decision to grant a new trial is committed to the sound
discretion of the district court. Montgomery Ward &
Co. v. Duncan, 311 U.S. 243, 251 (1940); United
States v. Schiffer, 836 F.Supp. 1164, 1169 (E.D. Pa.
1993), aff'd, 31 F.3d 1175 (3d Cir. 1994). Under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59, a motion for a new trial
may be granted "for any reason for which a new trial has
heretofore been granted in an action at law in federal
court." Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a)(1). "Such reasons
include prejudicial erroneous judicial rulings or misconduct
by opposing counsel." Houser v. Folino, No.
2:1-CV-416, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25165, at *4 (W.D. Pa. Mar.
1, 2016) (citing Olefins Trading, Inc. v. Han Yang Chem.
Corp., 9 F.3d 282, 289-90 (3d Cir. 1993);
Schiffer, 836 F.Supp. at 1169). "[T]he court
must assess whether an error was, in fact, committed, and
whether the error was so prejudicial that denying a new trial
would be inconsistent with substantial justice."
Houser, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25165, at *4-5 (citing
Bhaya v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 709 F.Supp. 600,
601 (E.D. Pa. 1989), aff'd, 922 F.2d 184 (3d
motion for a new trial may also be granted "when the
verdict is contrary to the great weight of the evidence; that
is, 'where a miscarriage of justice would result if the
verdict were to stand, '" Pryer v. CO. 3
Slavic, 251 F.3d 448, 453 (3d Cir. 2001) (quoting
Olefins Trading, 9 F.3d at 289), or "when the
court believes the verdict results from jury confusion."
Brown v. Nutrition Mgmt. Servs. Co., 370 Fed.Appx.
267, 269-70 (3d Cir. 2010). When reviewing a jury's
verdict, the District Court has an "obligation ... to
uphold the jury's award if there exists a reasonable
basis to do so." Matter v. Everest & Jennings,
Inc., 883 F.2d 1223, 1230 (3d Cir. 1989). In determining
whether a new trial should be granted, the court must draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of the party who prevailed
at trial. See Moyer v. United Dominion Indus., 473
F.3d 532, 545 n.8 (3d Cir. 2007).
ANPAC Is Entitled to Judgment as a Matter of Law on Certain
Issues; The Court Will Therefore Amend the Jury's Verdict
to Comport with the Evidence at Trial By Remitting the
Jury's Award for Loss of Use, Loss of Contents, and Loss
ANPAC Is Entitled to Judgment as a Matter of Law on
Felix's Loss of Use/Additional Living
Expenses Claim; The Court Will Therefore Remit the Jury's
Award to $0
Policy provided up to $146, 620 in coverage for "loss of
use," subject to a monthly maximum of $14, 662. (ECF No.
51-1 at 4.) The Policy provides:
D - Loss of Use
1. Additional Living Expense. If a loss covered under this
Section makes the residence premises uninhabitable, we cover
any necessary increase in living expenses incurred by you so
that your household can maintain its normal standard of
living for up to 24 months. Payment shall be for the shortest
time required to repair or replace the premises; or, if you
permanently relocate, the shortest time required for ...