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A Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling this week was supposed to bring an end to the family feud raging between Jack Link and his sons Troy and Jay, but it appears as though Link Snacks, the nation's largest purveyor of beef jerky, will keep battling it out in court for some time to come.
While the justices unanimously voted to reinstate a jury verdict awarding Jay Link $5 million in punitive damages, they also remanded the case back to the trial court to determine if he should have received more.
The bizarre tale of the Link family feud begins in 2005 when Jack and Troy Link filed a lawsuit in an attempt to force Jay to surrender his shares in Link Snacks. Jay counterclaimed, alleging that this action was a breach of fiduciary duties owed to him by his brother and father.
At trial, the jury found that all parties breached their fiduciary duties. In response, they awarded Jay Link $736,000 in compensatory damages, and another $5 million in punitives, reports the Duluth News Tribune.
However, they also awarded Jack Link and Link Snacks $5 million.
This is where it gets a bit odd.
Both parties filed a motion for remittitur, which is a request that the judge lower a jury award on the grounds that it either exceeds the amount requested or is excessive.
The trial judge granted only Jack's motion, tossing out the $5 million award to Jay.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned that decision, reinstating the award. They determined that the trial judge had unfairly considered Jack's motion, as it was not filed on time.
While one would think this would be the end of the beef jerky family saga, it's not.
Agreeing that Jay Link may have been wrongly barred from presenting all relevant evidence to the jury, the court sent the case back to the trial judge.
What this means is that, even though Jack Link has to pay $5 million to his son, if the trial court finds with Jay, there could very well be a new trial and a bigger payout.
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