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American National Property and Casualty Co. v. Felix

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 10, 2019

DANIEL J. FELIX, Defendant and Counterclaimant.



         Before 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.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background[1]

         This 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.

         1. The Policy

         At the 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.)

         The Policy also contained a "Fraud" provision, providing:

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.)

         2. The Fire at Felix's Home and Subsequent Insurance Claim

          Felix 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.[2] (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.)

         After 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.)

         3. ANPAC's Investigation After the 2016 Fire

          ANPAC 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.[3] (See ECF Nos. 239-41, 244.)

         Initially, ANPAC investigated the cause of the fire.[4] (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 ¶ 74.)

         During 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. at 13:18-22.)

         In 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.)

         During 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.[5] (ECF No. 52 ¶ 63(a); ECF No. 54 ¶ 63(a).)

         As 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.)

         On his 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.)

         ANPAC 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.[6] (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.)

         During the investigation, Felix submitted a supplemental Proof-of-Loss form claiming that an additional $66, 000 worth of property was destroyed in the fire.[7] (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.[8] (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.[9] (Id. at 64:20-67:1.)

         Cory 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.[10] (Id. at 109:18-23.) Felix did not accept ANPAC's offer. (Id. at 57:18-58:10.)

         4. ANPAC Denies Felix's Claim

         By May 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."[11] (Id. at 85:9-13.)

         About a 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.)

         5.Other Evidence Presented at Trial

         a. Items Other Than Louis Vuitton Purse and Diamond Earrings

         ANPAC 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 9:6-17.)

         Felix 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.[12] (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.[13] (ECF No. 250 at 7:4-11:1, 20:14-20.)

         Second, 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 fire.

         Mathena 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 meat. (Id.)

         Angela 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.)

         Further, 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.)

         b. Felix's Arrest for Breaking Into Merrill's Home

         At 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.)

         c. Evidence of Felix's Financial Condition

         ANPAC 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.)

         King 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 9:18-10:19.)

         B. Procedural Background

         On June 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.)

         In his 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.)

         After conducting discovery, both parties filed motions for summary judgment.[14] (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.)

         Before 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. 189);
(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 No. 191);
(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).

         The 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.)

         On 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.

         II. Jurisdiction

         The 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.

         III. Legal Standard

         A. Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law

         Rule 50 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.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 50.

         A court 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)).

         Still, "[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)).

         B. Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment

         Federal 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).

         "Because 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) (Gibson, J.).

         Post-judgment 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)).

         C. Motion for New Trial

         The 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 Cir. 1990)).

         A 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).

         IV. Discussion

         A. 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 of Dwelling

         1. 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

         The 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:

         Coverage 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 ...

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