The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONGER
Defendant seeks to set aside the verdict of the jury rendered in favor of the plaintiff in the sum of $ 1,150,000.
Defendant makes two motions; (1) to set aside the verdict of the jury and, notwithstanding the verdict, to enter judgment in favor of the defendant, in accordance with the defendant's motion for a directed verdict on the trial and on the ground that the motion for a directed verdict should have been granted for all the reasons upon which the said motion was based when made and because:
a. The claim asserted by the plaintiff is against public policy;
b. The verdict is contrary to law;
c. There is no evidence to support the verdict;
d. There is no evidence to sustain the cause of action pleaded;
e. There is not sufficient evidence to support the verdict;
f. The verdict is contrary to the evidence;
g. That the ends of justice so require; (2) in the alternative defendant further moves to set aside the verdict and for a new trial on all the grounds heretofore set forth as a basis for a directed verdict and for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, and on the following additional grounds:
a. The verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence;
b. The verdict is contrary to the weight of the credible and competent evidence;
c. The verdict is for excessive damages;
d. The Court erroneously received evidence over the objection of the defendant as to the results allegedly procured by the plaintiff in respect of the alleged advances by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain to the Government of Saudi Arabia;
e. The Court erroneously received evidence over the objection of the defendant as to the alleged value of plaintiff's alleged services;
f. Errors in the reception and exclusion of evidence;
g. Errors in the charge and in the refusals to charge;
h. Prejudicial and inflammatory remarks and appeals to passion and prejudice by the plaintiff and his counsel.
Defendant also renews its motion to dismiss the complaint and for a directed verdict on all the grounds upon which they were based when heretofore made in the course of the trial, decisions upon which were reserved.
I shall first take up defendant's motion to set aside the verdict and for judgment for defendant.
The first and main questions here are whether there is any evidence to support the verdict (c), and to sustain the cause of action pleaded (d). It seems to me these should be passed on together.
In other words, did he accomplish that which he claims he did and that which he claims compensation for? I am assuming that plaintiff made out a case as to the making of the contract.
Plaintiff's claim in this regard is contained in paragraph Ninth of the complaint and is as follows:
'Ninth: Thereafter and pursuant to the terms of his retainer, during the period from April 1 to January 1, 1942, plaintiff performed certain work, labor and services on behalf of the defendant herein resulting in the government of the United States requiring the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, as a part of certain financial negotiations then in progress between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain, to assume the budget requirements of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the duration of the war, with a resultant saving to the defendant herein of at least Thirty Million ($ 30,000,000.00) Dollars and the salvation of its oil and mineral concessions, the value of which have been variously estimated from Two to Ten Billion Dollars.'
In the summer of 1941, representatives of the British Government were in this country seeking from the American Government a collateral loan. Jesse Jones, then Federal Loan Administrator and Chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was representing the United States and had charge of the making of the loan. The loan was finally made and the transaction consummated on July 21, 1941 for $ 425,000,000.
It is clear from the complaint that plaintiff claims that as a result of his services the Government of the United States required the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain as a condition of this loan to assume the budget requirement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the duration of the pwar. There can be no question about this. The plaintiff's attorney in his summation stated:
'So that there may be no question about this our claim is that as a result of Mr. Moffett's services in Washington, the British were required to take out of that $ 450,000,000. loan whatever King Ibn Saud needed and pay it over. That is our claim and that is what we maintain was done. No two ways about it.'
In my charge to the jury I tried to make it plain just what plaintiff was claiming he accomplished and just what he was claiming he should be compensated for. I did state to the jury as follows:
' * * * And as to the result which was obtained, he (plaintiff) has the burden of proving also that he was the procuring cause, the efficient cause, or the proximate cause of this result which he says was this:
'That as a result of his efforts the Government of the United States in allowing this loan on July 21, 1941, that as a condition of that loan it required the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, as a part of this loan, to assume the budget requirements of the King of Saudi Arabia for the duration of the war.'
Plaintiff claims that his proof shows that a chain of events was started in motion by the initial visit of the plaintiff to President Roosevelt, which chain of events ended with the result, which the Oil Company employed the plaintiff to achieve, being achieved; that the plaintiff had been to Washington; that he had started this chain of events in motion; that he had seen the President; that it was the President who initiated the suggestion of ...