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Preserving a Motion for JNOV

A motion for judgement notwithstanding the verdict (“JNOV”) is an after trial motion where a party asks the Court to overturn the jury’s verdict. The issue with a JNOV focuses on whether a plaintiff made a submissible case — that is, one which presents substantial evidence for every fact essential to liability. Payne v. Cornhusker Motor Lines, Inc., 177 S.W.3d 820, 832 (Mo. Ct. App. 2005). Generally, a jury verdict will not be overturned unless there is a complete absence of probative facts to support the verdict. Id. A JNOV is a “drastic action,” and will only be granted when reasonable persons could not differ on a correct disposition of the case. Id.

Procedurally, a motion for JNOV can only be made if a party first made a motion for directed verdict at the close of all evidence. Furthermore, to preserve the question of whether a party made a submissible case for appeal, there must generally have been a motion for JNOV. Accordingly, if one desires to challenge on appeal whether a party has made a submissible case, the argument/objection must be included in both a motion for directed verdict at the close of all evidence and a motion for JNOV. Sanders v. Ahmed, 364 S.W.3d 185, 207 (Mo. 2012).

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