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Vander Zee v. Karabatsos

89 F.2d 441 U.S. 962 (1979)

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Vander Zee v. Karabatsos

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

89 F.2d 441 U.S. 962 (1979)

Facts

Rein J. Vander Zee (plaintiff), an attorney, referred a client, the Savage/Fogarty Company (Savage) to another attorney, Kimon T. Karabatsos (defendant). Vander Zee arranged a meeting with a representative of Savage at his club, and the following morning, Vander Zee invited Karabatsos to his home for a breakfast meeting. Vander Zee claimed that during the meeting, Karabatsos agreed to pay Vander Zee one-third of the fees he received from Savage. When Karabatsos did not pay Vander Zee, Vander Zee sued Karabatsos for breach of contract. During the trial, Vander Zee and his wife, who was a witness to the breakfast meeting, testified about the terms of the oral contract. Another witness also testified about discussions with Karabatsos about a fee-splitting arrangement with Vander Zee. Following the trial, the jury found in favor of Vander Zee, awarding him one-third of the money Karabatsos received from Savage. The trial court entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), concluding there was no substantial evidence of an oral contract between Vander Zee and Karabatsos. Karabatsos had also moved for a new trial on two grounds: the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, and the jury awarded excessive damages. The court granted the motion, concluding that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence but did not discuss the issue of damages. Vander Zee appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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