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Breaking News Feb. 2, 5:55 p.m. EST
The US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the AMA was guilty as charged in the Edmondson v. AMA case, but ordered a new trial to determine the exact amount of damages. The only issue to be determined in the new trial is the value of Roger Edmondson's share of a joint business venture he was involved in with the AMA. In other words, the court said that the AMA is guilty, but because the trial judge did not allow the jury to distinguish between tangible and intangible assets when it decided on the amount of damages, that issue must be re-tried. Legal sources familiar with the trial said that the new litigation could cost the AMA an additional $1 million or more in legal fees. The appeals court also ruled that the AMA's conduct justified the application of North Carolina's treble damages statutes.
AMA offices were closed when Roadracing World learned of the decision, and AMA officials could not be contacted for comment prior to posting.
Update, Feb. 3, 1:00 a.m. EST
Sources close to AMA employees now say that the AMA views the ruling as a huge victory because the Appeals Court only confirmed about $240,000 in damages, set aside a punitive damages award, and ordered the retrial on the issues of additional damages and punitive damages. The appeals court also vacated the award of attorneys fees to Edmondson and ordered the trial judge to reconsider his order that the AMA pay Edmondson's attorneys fees after a jury in the retrial determines a final damage award.
Sources close to Edmondson's legal team, meanwhile said the decision was a victory for Edmondson because his legal team could now "take another bite of the apple" with a chance to increase the damages awarded by the first jury. Those sources also said that the retrial could double the legal fees the AMA could have to pay, for its own lawyers as well as Edmondson's lawyers, depending upon the final verdict and the trial judge's decision.
In a sense, both sides are claiming victory. But the fact that the AMA acted improperly and owes Roger Edmondson damages of at least $240,000 has been ruled on and confirmed by the Appeals Court. We'll have to await the retrial to know the final bill that AMA members will pay for the entire affair.
Read the Appeals Court decision yourself