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Malibu moves for new verdict / new trial in Batchelder

Malibu Boats filed for a Judgement Not Withstanding the Verdict (JNOV) on September 7, 2021 in the Batchelder vs. Malibu case regarding the $200 million verdict with about $140 million being against them.

Ryan Batchelder clipped from NBC Channel 4 image

Ryan Batchelder
clipped from NBC Channel 4 image

Malibu says,

To the extent that the verdict and judgment impose successor liability on Malibu Boats for the actions of Malibu Boats West, Inc.—which is contrary to law and fact—Malibu Boats also moves for entry of JNOV or in the alternative for a new trial with respect to the verdict and judgment entered against Malibu Boats West, Inc.

Malibu’s entire official motion (along with hundreds of other legal documents in this case) is available from PeachCourt. Just create a free login, then search for Rabun County Superior Court, then by name for Batchelder, select the Batchelder case, then pull down to item 754 and be prepared to pay about 50 cents a page for it.

Malibu renews it motion for directed verdict and objections raised earlier. They want the judge to rule there is no legally sufficient evidence for a jury to find them guilty. Then dismiss the case.

Malibu’s motion heavily focuses on their claim that Malibu Boats is not the legal successor to Malibu Boats West, Inc.

Malibu raised a couple dozen more reasons below.


Malibu’s objections to the verdict

Among Malibu’s 28 objections per their JNOV motion are:

  • The verdict and judgment are contrary to law.
  • The verdict and judgment are contrary to the evidence.
  • Malibu Boats West, Inc. cannot be liable for a failure to warn because it went out of business in 2006 when it sold its boat line via an asset purchase agreement and thus was no longer a manufacturer in 2011 when Plaintiffs allege a duty to warn arose.
  • The verdict and judgment are strongly against the weight of the evidence.
  • The verdict and judgment are tainted by the illegal admission of irrelevant and prejudicial evidence over the objections of defense counsel as raised in its motions in limine, Daubert motions, and objections during trial, which are incorporated by reference herein.
  • Malibu Boats West, Inc. cannot be liable for a failure to warn because it went out of business in 2006 when it sold its boat line via an asset purchase agreement and thus was no longer a manufacturer in 2011 when Plaintiffs allege a duty to warn arose.
  • The verdict and judgment are tainted by the improper exclusion of evidence, including expert testimony, proffered by Malibu Boats.
  • The Court erred in charging and instructing the jury
  • The verdict and judgment are tainted by passion and prejudice flowing from inflammatory and irrelevant deposition testimony, improper remarks, and other tactics of plaintiff’s counsel throughout trial.

Some More of Malibu’s 28 Objections

  • The verdict and judgment are tainted by the erroneous reading to the jury of a so- called stipulation to which Malibu Boats never agreed.
  • The judgment is void.
  • The verdict returned by the jury is internally inconsistent and incapable of supporting the judgment that was entered.
  • Successor liability cannot be sustained on a “collective” identity theory, as the jury rejected that theory when they exonerated Malibu Boats, Inc. of any liability.
  • The compensatory and punitive damages awarded by the jury are excessive
  • Neither the compensatory nor the punitive damages awarded against Malibu Boats on the failure to warn claim can be sustained in light of Malibu Boats’ compliance with all applicable regulations.
  • The lack of any substantially similar prior incident negates the punitive damages claim by rendering it unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution and the Georgia Constitution; and the lack of evidence of any substantially similar prior incident also negates the essential elements of duty to warn and proximate cause required for a compensatory damages award under Georgia law.

In Conclusion

In their Motion, Malibu just lists bullet points like the ones above with no supporting information.

The Motion states Malibu reserves the right to amend this Motion to more fully describe the grounds listed above once a transcript is provided by the Court.


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