The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position after a jury verdict for plaintiff. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this bus accident/brain injury case and its proceedings.)
A NEW TRIAL IS WARRANTED BECAUSE THERE WAS SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE FROM WHICH A JURY COULD CONCLUDE THAT PLAINTIFF WAS COMPARATIVELY NEGLIGENT.
A directed verdict is appropriate only where there is no evidence to support a claim or defense.
A directed verdict is appropriate “only when, disregarding conflicting evidence, giving the evidence of the party against whom the motion is directed all the value to which it is legally entitled, and indulging every legitimate inference from such evidence in favor of that party, the court nonetheless determines there is no evidence of sufficient substantiality to support the claim or defense of the party opposing the motion.” (Howard v. Owens Corning (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 621, 629-630; see also Quinn v. City of Los Angeles (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 472, 479-480.) In determining such a motion, the trial court has no power to weigh the evidence, and may not consider the credibility of witnesses. (Howard v. Owens Corning, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 629.)
A directed verdict may not be granted where there is any substantial evidence to support the claim or defense, “no matter how slight it may appear in comparison with the contradictory evidence.” (Howard v. Owens Corning, supra, at pp. 630-631; see also Fashion 21 v. Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 1138, 1149-1150 [even slight evidence in support of a fact to be inferred may be sufficient to allow the issue to go to the jury].)
“Unless it can be said as a matter of law, that, when so considered, no other reasonable conclusion is legally deducible from the evidence, and that any other holding would be so lacking in evidentiary support that a reviewing court would be impelled to reverse it upon appeal, or the trial court to set it aside as a matter of law, the trial court is not justified in taking the case from the jury.” (Howard v. Owens Corning, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 630, fn. 5.) (See Part 3 of 11.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.