Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Vang v. Prataya

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 29, 2017

Panyia Vang, Plaintiff,
v.
Thiawachu Prataya, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JOAN N. ERICKSEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Panyia Vang brought this action against Thiawachu Prataya and others. A stipulated dismissal of one defendant, a settlement with another, and the grant of partial summary judgment in Prataya's favor left Vang with claims against Prataya under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591 and 1595, and 18 U.S.C. §§ 2255 and 2423. A jury trial took place. At trial, Vang asserted her claim under §§ 2255 and 2423(c). The jury returned a verdict in Vang's favor in the amount of $950, 000. Judgment was entered in accordance with the verdict. The case is before the Court on Prataya's Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and Motion for a New Trial. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the motion.

         Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law

         Rule 50(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “provides for post-trial renewal of a Rule 50(a) trial motion for judgment as a matter of law. A court reviewing a Rule 50(b) motion is limited to consideration of only those grounds advanced in the original, Rule 50(a) motion.” Nassar v. Jackson, 779 F.3d 547, 551 (8th Cir. 2015); see Bank of Am. N.A. v. JB Hanna, LLC, 766 F.3d 841, 850 (8th Cir. 2014) (“Because the Rule 50(b) motion is only a renewal of the preverdict motion, it can be granted only on grounds advanced in the preverdict motion.” (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 50 advisory committee's note to 2006 amendment)). A motion under Rule 50(a) “must specify the judgment sought and the law and facts that entitle the movant to the judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(2). “Although ‘technical precision' in stating the grounds for a motion for judgment [as] a matter of law is not necessary, the motion must be ‘specific enough' to notify the district court and the opposing party of the underlying issue.” Hyundai Motor Fin. Co. v. McKay Motors I, LLC, 574 F.3d 637, 642 (8th Cir. 2009).

         In this case, Prataya moved for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(a) at the close of all the evidence. His attorney stated:

At this time, I would be remiss if I didn't make a motion for a judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [50(a)]. We're asking the Court to make a finding that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the plaintiff at this point. The evidence that's been presented in the Court over the last two days just simply is insufficient.

         This motion lacks the particularity required of a Rule 50(a) motion. See Nassar, 779 F.3d at 551. Consequently, the Court denies Prataya's Rule 50(b) motion.

         Even if Prataya's Rule 50(a) motion were sufficiently specific, the Court would deny his Rule 50(b) motion. A court may grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against a party “[i]f 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1). To decide a motion for judgment as a matter of law, the court must:

(1) resolve direct factual conflicts in favor of the nonmovant, (2) assume as true all facts supporting the nonmovant which the evidence tended to prove, (3) give the nonmovant the benefit of all reasonable inferences, and (4) deny the motion if the evidence so viewed would allow reasonable jurors to differ as to the conclusions that could be drawn.

Stults v. Am. Pop Corn Co., 815 F.3d 409, 418 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting Jones v. Edwards, 770 F.2d 739, 740 (8th Cir. 1985)); see Bamford, Inc. v. Regent Ins. Co., 822 F.3d 403, 410 (8th Cir. 2016) (“To make this determination, the court reviews all record evidence, and views it in the light most favorable to the prevailing party. The court draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the prevailing party, without making credibility determinations or weighing the evidence.” (citation omitted)).

         At trial, Vang testified about the sexual contact between her and Prataya. She and members of her family testified about her date of birth. Documents were introduced to establish her date of birth, and photographs were introduced to corroborate her age. The evidence received at trial established a legally sufficient evidentiary basis for the jury to find for Vang.

         Motion for a New Trial

         Prataya moved for a new trial, arguing that the jury's verdict is against the weight of the evidence and that the damage award is excessive. A court may grant a motion for a new trial “when the first trial resulted in a miscarriage of justice, through a verdict against the weight of the evidence, an excessive damage award, or legal errors at trial.” Trickey v. Kaman Indus. Techs. Corp., 705 F.3d 788, 807 (8th Cir. 2013); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(a)(1)(A). “On a motion for new trial, the district court is entitled to interpret the evidence and judge the credibility of witnesses, but it may not usurp the role of the jury by granting a new trial simply because it believes other inferences and conclusions are more reasonable.” Van Steenburgh v. Rival Co., 171 F.3d 1155, 1160 (8th Cir. 1999).

         The evidence received at trial presented the jury with disputes about whether Prataya engaged in a sexual act with Vang by using force against her and about Vang's age at the time of the sexual contact between her and Prataya. Having considered the evidence, the Court discerns no miscarriage of justice in the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.