(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings.)
THE ISSUE OF VERDICT BASED ON INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE
The Defendants’ Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for New Trial contends that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict in favor of plaintiffs. Defendants’ motion is based upon little more than argument of counsel and not the evidence considered by the jury in this matter. This alone is reason to deny defendants’ motion. However, as this court is well aware, the evidence introduced at trial is more than sufficient to support the jury’s verdict.
California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 657 states, in part:
A new trial shall not be granted upon the ground of insufficiency of the evidence to justify the verdict or other decision, nor upon the ground of excessive or inadequate damages, unless after weighing the evidence the court is convinced from the entire record, including reasonable inferences there from, that the court or jury clearly should have reached a different verdict or decision.
In deciding a motion for new trial based upon insufficiency of the evidence, the court’s function is to determine whether…there is sufficient credible evidence to support the verdict. Zurian v. Wahl Shoe Company, Inc., (1994) 22 Cal. 4th 397, citing People v. Robarge, (1953) 41 Cal. 2d 628, 633.
In ruling on a motion for new trial based upon insufficiency of the evidence, the trial court should not disregard the verdict or decide what results should have been reached if the case had been tried without a jury. Dominguez v. Pantalone, (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 201, 215.
The trial court must also not grant a new trial simply because it disagrees with the verdict rendered by the jury. In Dominguez, the trial court stated in ruling on a motion for new trial that it would have found differently than the jury. Nonetheless, the trial court denied the motion for new trial. The Court of Appeal held as follows:
The experienced and able trial judge in the instant case impliedly found that there was sufficient credible evidence to support the verdict, and that the jury was reasonable in believing the witnesses it apparently had believed in reaching its verdict. The court simply recognized that it could not grant the motion for new trial simply because if would have found differently than the jury. Dominquez, Supra at 216.
There is abundant and substantial testimony that Dr. Linda X.’s conduct was below the standard of practice and caused a medical emergency and thereafter Dr. X.’s lack of skill and care to correctly handle the medical emergency lead to substantial damage and harm suffered by both plaintiffs.
The testimony of Dr. Dean Y. and Dr. Allan Z. (the treating neonatologist) testified that this injury was caused by the shoulder dystocia and the application of the excess lateral traction applied to Alexandra’s head at the point of the dystocia. Dr. Greene (defense expert) agreed the injury occurred at the point of shoulder dystocia.
The defendants’ interpretation of the testimony is a misrecollection of the facts testified to at trial. Although the defense elicited testimony concerning possible alternative causes of Alexandra’s injuries. Dr. Y., Dr. Z., Dr. Peter W. and Dr. Greene were all of the opinion that it was more probable than not that Alexandra’s injury was caused at the point of the shoulder dystocia and Alexandra’s nerves were stretched to the breaking point.
There is sufficient credible evidence to support the jury’s conclusion that Dr. Linda X.’s negligent conduct was a substantial factor in causing damage and harm to Alexandra and her mother.
The only defense expert to testify directly on this issue was Nancy V., M.D. Dr. V. testified that Alexandra’s injury was caused in utero by some unknown cause. Dr. V.’s testimony was not credible and was not believed by the jury.
The moving party does not like the evidence or the way it was interpreted by the jury, but nonetheless there is substantial credible evidence to support the jury’s verdict on negligence and causation. (See Part 9 of 9.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.