Civil Procedure II - Mueller Spring 2005 - A

Civil Procedure II - Mueller Spring 2005 - A - Civil...

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Civil Procedure Outline Spring 2005 TRIAL Judicial Control of the Verdict o Judgment as a Matter of Law FRCP Rule 50 joined the two old rules: Directed verdict: Before the jury deliberated, judge could make a judgment on the case Judgment notwithstanding the verdict (nov): Judge overruled the jury and went against the jury’s verdict Must be filed within 10 days after final judgment Final judgment = when the actual piece of paper with the judgment is entered in the docket book (notice is typically sent to the parties, but this doesn’t affect the time limit) However, many states still use these two terms This motion tests the sufficiency of the evidence Requires substantial evidence : judge must decide whether there is sufficient evidence to support a verdict in favor of the party opposing the motion May be made by either party at the close of the opponent’s evidence, but it is usually made by the defendant In order to preserve the right to raise this motion after the jury’s verdict, a party must raise it also before the jury takes the case BUT the judge almost always denies the motion before the jury’s deliberation, so it is basically a boilerplate motion o Advantage of granting: Saves time and money o Disadvantage of granting: If the judge is wrong, the case must be tried again; if he waits to grant it until after the jury comes back, the losing party can appeal and the jury’s verdict can be reinstated; the jury’s function is important Seventh Amendment constitutional issue: Does this motion take away too much from the jury? Dissent by Justice Black in Galloway : o Looked at common law antecedents of this motion: Demurrer: This was a risky motion to make because if the judge denied it, that party lost! Now, the JML isn’t as risky so it will be raised more and possibly take more power away from the jury Motion for a new trial: While this started everything over with a new trial, the JML motion renders a final judgment! o Black wants to retain power in the jury Majority argues that the jury trial practice can change over time and shouldn’t be tied to historical traditions Three standards for testing the sufficiency of the evidence Scintilla standard (“any evidence” rule) o Lavendar v. Kern o The case must go to a jury if there is even “a scintilla” of evidence to support the opposing party’s case Substantial evidence standard 1
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o The judge only considers the evidence supporting the nonmoving party in the light most favorable to that party and determine whether all that evidence would not support a verdict for that party o Galloway v. United States In this case, the plaintiff’s case required too much of an inferential leap in the evidence and the court granted the defendant’s JML motion – court says it is too speculative Federal standard o Look at all the evidence for both parties and determine what the reasonable conclusion of the evidence is o Rule 50(a)(1):
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