Tyco Electronics was unhappy with surge protection equipment it purchased for inclusion in a product it sold to a customer. So Tyco sued Illinois Tool Works, the manufacturer of the equipment. A jury trial ended in a $2 million judgment for Tyco. Tyco still wasn’t pleased, so it asked the trial court for a retrial on damages only. When the trial court denied that motion, Tyco appealed.
The First District Illinois Appellate Court sided with ITW and affirmed the denial of a damages retrial. The appellate court agreed that a damages-only trial would not be fair to Tyco because “liability and damages are not so distinct.”
If the plaintiff seeks a new trial limited to the issue of damages and this court determines that a limited issue trial is not appropriate, in the absence of an alternative motion for a retrial on all issues, the jury’s verdict will be affirmed even if it is found to be inadequate … We conclude that Tyco was not denied a fair trial on the issue of damages, the jury’s verdict was not contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence, and even if the evidence failed to support the jury’s verdict, a new trial which would be limited to the issue of damages would be inappropriate because of the linkage between the liability and damage issues presented.