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Remittitur — Monetary Jury Verdicts

Remittitur refers to a Court’s ability to reduce the amount of a monetary jury verdict. The assessment of money damages is primarily the function of the jury. Scott v. Blue Springs Ford Sales, Inc., 215 S.W.3d 145, 180 (Mo. Ct. App. 2006). However, Courts can, in an exercise of remittitur, reduce the amount of a damages award if it is grossly excessive or inadequate. Barnett v. La Societe Anonyme Turbomeca France, 963 S.W.2d 639, 656 (Mo. Ct. App. 1997). The authority of the Court to do this flows from statute:

A court may enter a remittitur order if, after reviewing the evidence in support of the jury’s verdict, the court finds that the jury’s verdict is excessive because the amount of the verdict exceeds fair and reasonable compensation for plaintiff’s injuries and damages. Section 537.068, RSMo.

The statute only vests the trial court with discretion to remit a verdict if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, does not support the amount awarded by the jury. The trial court has no authority to alter the jury’s verdict unless that threshold requirement is met.

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