United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Douglas A. Kelley, in his Capacity as the PCI Liquidating Trustee for the PCI Liquidating Trust, Plaintiff,
Gus Boosalis, Defendant.
R. Marti, Andrew B. Brantingham, Christina Hanson, and J.
David Jackson, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, for Plaintiff
Douglas A. Kelley, in his Capacity as Trustee for the PCI
J. Frisk and Mark A. Schwab, Schwab, Thompson & Frisk,
Don R. Grande for Defendant Gus Boosalis.
ORDER ON POST-TRIAL MOTIONS
RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Douglas A. Kelley, in his Capacity as the PCI Liquidating
Trustee for the PCI Liquidating Trust (“the
Trustee”) asserted fraudulent transfer claims against
Defendant Gus Boosalis under provisions of the U.S.
Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. §§ 544(b), 550, 551,
1106, and the Minnesota Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, (the
“MUFTA”), Minn. Stat. §§ 513.41-.51.
the Court are Defendant's Motion to Set Aside the Verdict
as a Matter of Law and Request for a New Trial [Doc. No. 107]
and Plaintiff's Motion for Prejudgment Interest [Doc. No.
104]. For the reasons set forth herein, Defendant's
motion is denied and Plaintiff's motion is granted.
Defendant's Motion to Set Aside the Verdict
matter was tried to an eight-person jury on November 26-30,
2018 and December 4, 2018. The jury heard testimony from
eight witnesses and over 175 exhibits were received into
evidence. After deliberating for approximately three hours on
December 4, 2018, the jury concluded that the Trustee had
proved his claims. In particular, with respect to the claim
regarding actual fraudulent transfers, the jury found that:
(1) the Trustee had established by a preponderance of the
evidence that Petters Company, Inc. made one or more interest
payments to Boosalis with the intent to hinder, delay, or
defraud any of its creditors; (2) Boosalis did not prove by a
preponderance of the evidence the affirmative defense that he
received the payments in good faith and in exchange for
reasonably equivalent value; and (3) the total dollar value
of the interest payments resulting from the actual fraudulent
transfers was $3, 502, 455.00. (Redacted Jury Verdict at 2
[Doc. No. 116].)
respect to the Trustee's constructive fraudulent transfer
claim, the jury found that the Trustee proved by a
preponderance of the evidence that: (1) Petters Company, Inc.
made interest payments to Boosalis; and (2) Petters Company,
Inc. did not receive reasonably equivalent value in exchange
for the interest payments paid to Boosalis. (Id. at
3.) In addition, the jury found that the Trustee proved by a
preponderance of the evidence that at the time the transfers
were made: (1) Petters Company, Inc. was engaged or was about
to engage in a business or a transaction for which Petters
Company, Inc.'s remaining assets were unreasonably small
in relation to the business or transaction; and/or (2)
Petters Company, Inc. intended to incur, or believed or
reasonably should have believed it would incur, debts beyond
Petters Company, Inc.'s ability to pay as they became
due. (Id.) The jury found that the total dollar
value of the interest payments for which the Trustee
established constructive fraudulent transfer was $3, 502,
to the submission of the case to the jury, Defendant moved
for judgment as a matter of law, which this Court denied.
(See Nov. 30, 2018 Minutes [Doc. No. 109].) Pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b), he now renews his
motion. (See Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. at 1-3 [Doc.
No. 108].) In the alternative, under Rule 59, he moves for a
new trial. (Id.)
analyzing a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law
under Rule 50(b), the Court must consider the legal question
of whether the evidence sufficiently supports the jury's
verdict. White v. Pence, 961 F.2d 776, 779 (8th Cir.
1992). In doing so, the Court is to analyze the evidence in
the light most favorable to the prevailing party, without
weighing or evaluating the evidence or considering
witnesses' credibility. Id. In order to succeed
on a post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law,
“all the evidence must point one way and be susceptible
of no reasonable inference sustaining the position of the
nonmoving party.” Id.
Court is thoroughly familiar with the evidence presented in
this case and finds that the verdict is well-supported by the
evidence. Witness testimony and exhibits sufficiently
supported the jury's finding that the Trustee proved his
claims of actual and constructive fraud in the amount
determined by the jury. Defendant has not met the standard
for judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50.
Defendant's alternative request for a new trial, Rule
59(a)(1) provides that the Court “may, on motion, grant
a new trial on all or some of the issues-and to any party- as
follows: (A) after a jury trial, 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). The
“key question” which the Court must consider is
whether retrial is necessary “to avoid a miscarriage of
justice, ” McKnight v. Johnson Controls, Inc.,
36 F.3d 1396, 1400 (8th Cir. 1994), due to legal errors made
during the trial or because the verdict goes against the
weight of the evidence. White, 961 F.2d at 780. In
contrast to a motion brought under Rule 50(b), under Rule 59,
the district court may rely on its own reading of the
evidence, including by weighing the evidence and considering
the credibility of witnesses. Id.
contends that the verdict here was against the weight of the
evidence. Again, the Court finds that the verdict is
well-supported by the evidence and a new trial is not
warranted in order to avoid a miscarriage ...