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Navcom Technology, Inc. v. Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

June 16, 2017

NAVCOM TECHONOLOGY, INC, et al., Plaintiffs,


          EDWARD J. DAVILA, United States District Judge


         After a ten day trial, a jury found against Plaintiffs Navcom Technology Inc. and Deere & Company (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) on their claim that Defendant Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. (“Defendant”) breached a written contract for the development and production of a component known as the “RF ASIC.” Presently before the court is Plaintiffs' renewed motion for partial judgment as a matter of law under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b). Dkt. No. 330. Also before the court is Defendant's motion requesting similar relief with regard to issues left undecided by the jury, which it filed “out of an abundance of caution.” Dkt. No. 332.

         Federal jurisdiction arises pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Because the basic facts of this case are well-known to the parties, the court does not recount them here. The court will, however, explain in the memorandum portion of this Order why Plaintiff's Rule 50(b) motion will be denied, and why Defendant's protective motion will be denied as moot.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 permits a district court to grant judgment as a matter of law when “the evidence, construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, permits only one reasonable conclusion, and that conclusion is contrary to that of the jury.” Estate of Diaz v. City of Anaheim, 840 F.3d 592, 604 (9th Cir. 2016) (internal quotations omitted). The entire record must be reviewed and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). Functionally, “the court should give credence to the evidence favoring the nonmovant as well as that ‘evidence supporting the moving party that is uncontradicted and unimpeached, at least to the extent that that evidence comes from disinterested witnesses.'” Id. at 151 (quoting 9A C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2529, p. 300 (2d ed.1995)). However, the court “may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.” Id. at 150.


         Taking up Plaintiffs' motion, they contend the jury's finding that Section 1.0 of the Development and Purchase Agreement (the “Agreement”) was not breached is contrary to the record and unsupported by legally sufficient evidence. Second, they assert there is no legally sufficient evidence to support the jury's finding that Defendant did not breach Sections 2.6 and 2.8 of the Agreement.

         These arguments are unconvincing when tested against the record.

         A. The Agreement

         The Agreement underlying this action was admitted into evidence and discussed at length by trial witnesses. Dkt. No. 315, Exs. 46, 125. As relevant here, Section 1.0 of the Agreement, entitled “Term, ” provides as follows:

The term of this Agreement for purposes of ASIC (Applications Specific Integrated Circuit) development and purchase order placement shall commence with the date first written above and continue until December 31, 2006. This Agreement shall automatically renew for successive one (1) year periods until Buyer or Seller terminates the Agreement with at least three (3) months written notice prior to any expiration of any then current term.

Section 2.6 of the Terms and Conditions, entitled “Delivery of Engineering Prototypes, ” states:

Engineering Prototypes will be delivered after Buyer's written approval in accordance with the Engineering Prototype turnaround time specified in Schedule C. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Engineering Prototypes shall not be delivered unless Seller is in receipt of all NRE payments due up to the point of Engineering Prototype manufacturing.

         Section 2.8 of the Agreement's Terms and Conditions, entitled “Warranty on Engineering Prototypes, ” states:

Seller warrants that the Engineering Prototypes delivered pursuant to Section 2.0 (Development Phase) of the Terms and Conditions shall, at the time of delivery, be free and clear of all liens and encumbrances and free from defects in materials or workmanship, shall conform to Product Specifications listed in Schedule A, or such other specifications approved in writing by Seller and Buyer.

         B. The Breach of Contract Claim

          The Complaint's sole claim for breach of contract is governed by California law. “The standard elements of a claim for breach of contract are ‘(1) the contract, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) defendant's breach, and (4) damage to plaintiff therefrom.'” Wall St. Network, Ltd. v. New York Times Co., 164 Cal.App.4th 1171, 1178 (2008) (quoting Regan Roofing Co. v. Super. Ct., 24 Cal.App.4th 425, 434-35 (1994)). It was Plaintiff's burden “to prove all the . . . elements necessary to recover on its contract claim.” Centex Golden Constr. Co. v. Dale Title Co., 78 Cal.App.4th 992, 1000 (2000) (citing Cal. Evid. Code § 500).

         At trial, the court instructed the jury consistent with the elements of a breach of contract claim and the applicable burden of proof. Final ...

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