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Yetter Coleman Wins Sixth Circuit Appeal For IBM Affirming Limited Award

On March 26, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of our client, IBM, in litigation against Tennessee-based Jewelry Television (JTV).

At a 2017 trial in Chattanooga, the jury found a former IBM subsidiary liable on three claims arising from a software implementation project. It awarded $13 million for each claim, less than a quarter of the alleged damages. JTV sought to recover all three awards added together. The parties extensively briefed this election-of-remedies issue, and the trial court agreed with our client that JTV should recover only a single set of damages.

JTV, as plaintiff, then appealed. We argued for IBM that the trial judge had carefully and properly resolved this key issue below. In its opinion, the Sixth Circuit agreed and affirmed the trial court’s election-of-remedies decision awarding a single set of damages, rather than stacking three sets of damages together. The court agreed with IBM that the case was governed by Sixth Circuit precedent applying Tennessee law and holding that a trial judge must ensure that damage awards are not duplicative or overlapping.

April Farris, Reagan Simpson, and Grant Martinez handled our successful briefing in the district court and before the Sixth Circuit, and April presented oral argument to the Sixth Circuit. Paul Yetter, Collin Cox, Wynn McCloskey, Jane Ray, and Grant Martinez handled the trial.