Inadequate Jury Verdicts, Requests for New Trial

Even after a jury’s verdict is entered, a case may not be over. The Court may sometimes order a new trial. One basis for a new trial is if a jury verdict is inadequate based on the facts and circumstances of the case. A trial court’s decision to order a new trial based on a claimed inadequate jury verdict is reviewed on an appeal on an abuse of discretion standard. Lewey v. Farmer, 362 S.W.3d 429, 435 (Mo. Ct. App. 2012). An abuse of discretion is present when a ruling is clearly against the logic of the circumstances so as to make it arbitrary and unreasonable. An abuse of discretion with regard to an inadequate jury verdict only occurs when the jury verdict is so shockingly inadequate as to indicate that it is a result of (1) passion and prejudice or (2) a gross abuse of discretion. Id. It is, then, very difficult to overturn a trial judge’s decision on whether to order a new trial for an inadequate verdict. Furthermore, Judges are often very unwilling to disrupt a jury’s verdict. Contact with questions.

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