The Supreme Court yesterday refused to reinstate a $ 15.9 million award won, then lost, by Cool Light Co., which said it was forced out of the movie and TV lighting business.
The court, without comment, rejected the Hollywood company’s argument that a judge improperly threw out a jury’s verdict.
Cool Light was founded in Los Angeles in 1977 to produce heat-free lighting for movie and television producers.
The company hired GTE Products Corp. to manufacture reflectors to be used in making the lights.
GTE sold subsidiary
GTE Products, a former subsidiary of New York-based GTE Corp., was sold in January and now is known as Osram Sylvania Inc.
Cool Light accused GTE Products of lying about its ability to produce the reflectors and of deliberately failing to supply them.
Cool Light went out of business and sued GTE Products in federal court.
A federal jury in Boston in 1990 awarded Cool Light $ 15.9 million in damages for fraud, breach of contract and breach of good faith.
The award included $ 9.4 million to reimburse the company’s actual losses and $ 6.5 million in damages intended to punish GTE Products.
Jurors also gave answers to a series of questions in which they set the amount of Cool Light’s lost profits at $ 9.3 million.
New trial ordered
U.S. District Judge John J. McNaught later threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial because he couldn’t understand how the jury set damages.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s ruling, saying, “A judge should not enter judgment on a verdict where it is impossible to understand the jury’s intentions.”
A second, non-jury trial was held before another judge, who ruled in favor of GTE Products.