Jury Instruction on Testimony Explained by WI Court

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals recently heard a contract dispute involving a sales representative and two manufacturers, in which the appellant sales rep contended that the Appellees owed it approximately $1.2 million in commissions.

Appellant claimed that it fulfilled its contractual obligation to assist Appellees in securing a deal to sell an architectural feature for a building project in Saudi Arabia. But after the deal collapsed, Appellees refused to pay the commission. Appellant brought suit.

Addressing summary judgment motions, the trial court determined that the parties formed a contract through a series of letters and email messages. The court also determined, however, that the contract was ambiguous on the issue of what circumstances would trigger Appellant’s entitlement to a commission, creating a jury issue. At trial, a jury found in Appellees’ favor that Appellant was not entitled to a commission. Based on those verdicts, the jury didn’t reach questions about the amount of commission owed or the potential for exemplary damages.

On appeal, Appellant argued, inter alia, that the trial court erroneously exercised its discretion in allowing certain expert testimony at trial and instructing the jury that it could consider the expert testimony.

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