Mike Rader and Tony DeWitt were responsible for turning around a loss on summary judgment into a win on summary judgment. In Cockerham v. American Family the Eastern District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and directed the trial court to enter judgment in favor of plaintiffs, the Cockerhams. Before the trial court American Family objected to plaintiff’s damages evidence, but never put on any evidence of what it thought the amount should be. It never moved to strike the damages evidence put forth by BFRR. As a result, the Appellate Court ordered entry of judgment, meaning an amount of money for the damages as set out by Plaintiffs. But the insurance carrier had different ideas. It complained that judgment didn’t really mean judgment, it just meant an order but no money. It claimed it preserved its objection to the damages evidence by objection. The trial court on remand disagreed:
American Family put all its eggs in one basket- that the courts would agree with it that no coverage existed, rendering it unnecessary to dispute Homeowners’ evidence of damages. Unfortunately for American Family, the Court of Appeals did not agree with its position on coverage. Accordingly, the uncontroverted evidence of damages is the amount set forth in the Madden Affidavit, and there is no material fact in dispute on the amount of damages. Under the Mandate, Homeowners are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and that judgment includes money damages.