Multi-Car Collision Leaves Sacramento Woman With Brain Damage, Part 4 of 9

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/car accident case and its proceedings.)


A Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (hereinafter “JNOV”) challenges the legal sufficiency of the evidence, essentially asking whether the evidence was sufficient to prove the claims or defenses asserted and now embodied in the jury’s verdict, such as the one in this brain injury case. See Hauter v. Zogarts (1975) 14 Cal.3d 104; Clemmer v. Harford Ins. Co. (1978) 22 Cal.3d 865.

For purposes of a JNOV, all evidence supporting the verdict is presumed true, making the issue whether the facts, when presumed true, constitute a prima facie case or defense as a matter of law. Moore v. San Francisco (1970) 5 Cal.App.3d 728; Fountain Valley Chateau Blanc Homeowner’s Ass’n v. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 743.

The trial judge’s power to grant a judgment notwithstanding the verdict is identical to his power to grant a directed verdict. The trial judge cannot weigh the evidence, or judge the credibility of witnesses. If the evidence is conflicting or if several reasonable inferences may be drawn, the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict should be denied. A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict of a jury may properly be granted only if it appears from the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the party securing the verdict, that there is no substantial evidence to support the verdict.

If there is any substantial evidence, or reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, in support of the verdict, the motion should be denied. Hauter, 14 Cal.3d at 110 (citing Jones v. Evans (1970) 4 Cal.App.3d 115; Gordon v. Strawther Enterprises, Inc. (1969) 273 Cal.App.2d 504; Quintal v. Laurel Grove Hospital (1964) 62 Cal.2d 154, Knight v. Contracting Engineers Co. (1961) 194 Cal.App.2d 435; McCown v. Spencer (1970) 8 Cal.App.3d 216; Hozz v. Fielder (1959) 167 Cal.App.2d 197; Brandenburg v. Pac, Gas ?? Elec. Co. (1946) 28 Cal.2d 282).

A party may rely upon reasonable inferences from the evidence to support a verdict. Hauter, 14 Cal.3d at 110. An inference is a deduction of fact that may logically and reasonably be drawn from another fact or group of facts found or otherwise established. Cal. Evid. Code, § 600; See also Ajaxo Inc. v. E*Trade Group Inc. (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 21. Further, in evaluating a JNOV notion, any conflicting evidence is resolved against the moving party; and the party in whose favor the verdict was rendered is entitled to the benefit of every favorable inference which may reasonably be drawn from the evidence and to have all conflicts in the evidence resolved in his favor. Castro v. State of California (1981) 114 Cal.App.3d 503 (emphasis added); see also Fountain Valley Chateau Blane Homeowner’s Ass’n v. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 743. (See Part 5 of 9.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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