Recreational Data Services, Inc. v. Trimble Navigation LimitedAnnotate this Case
Recreational Data Services, Inc. (RDS) attempted to develop and market a smartphone that would come preloaded with outdoor-oriented software. RDS pursued a partnership to advance the project with Trimble Navigation Limited, through one of its divisions, Trimble Mobile Computing Services (Trimble Mobile), and Remington Arms Company. Remington withdrew from the project after about two years of research and review. Several months later Trimble Mobile left the project shortly before a different Trimble division, Trimble Outdoors, launched a similar product. RDS sued Trimble for misrepresentation, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty, alleging that Trimble Mobile intentionally delayed RDS’s project while sharing confidential information about it with Trimble Outdoors. A jury agreed with RDS and awarded it $51.3 million in lost profits. The superior court, however, concluded that RDS had not proven the amount of lost profits with reasonable certainty and granted Trimble a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. RDS appealed, arguing the superior court erroneously conflated the standards of proof for the fact of harm and the amount of damages and asks that the jury verdict be reinstated. After review, the Supreme Court concluded that it was error to grant a judgment notwithstanding the verdict because a reasonable juror could conclude that RDS proved all elements of its claims. Furthermore, the Court held that the superior court was correct to conclude that RDS failed to prove any amount of lost profits to a reasonable certainty as the law requires. The Supreme Court therefore granted remittitur, directing the superior court to make an award of nominal damages and enter judgment for RDS.