A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in California is the topic of this blog post.
A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is more limited in scope than a motion for a new trial. However if it is used in the appropriate situations it is much more powerful due to the fact that if you win the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict the court will enter a new and different judgment in your favor.
A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in California (JNOV) challenges the legal sufficiency of the evidence at trial. A JNOV also differs from a motion for a new trial in that a JNOV motion consists of a single document. The entire motion, including the notice of motion and memorandum of points and authorities, is due at the same time as the notice of intent to move for a new trial.
Law authorizing a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in California.
A JNOV motion in California is authorized under Code of Civil Procedure section 629 which states in pertinent part that, “The court, before the expiration of its power to rule on a motion for a new trial, either of its own motion, after five days’ notice, or on motion of a party against whom a verdict has been rendered, shall render judgment in favor of the aggrieved party notwithstanding the verdict whenever a motion for a directed verdict for the aggrieved party should have been granted had a previous motion been made.”
Deadline to file a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in California.
Because a motion for a new trial and a JNOV motion are often sought concurrently, the time limit for filing the JNOV motion is exactly the same as the time for filing a notice of intent to move for a new trial. A JNOV motion must be filed and served on all adverse parties within the period for filing a new trial notice of intent under Code of Civil Procedure Section 659 which is within 15 days of the date of mailing notice of entry of judgment by the clerk of the court, or service upon the moving party by any party of written notice of entry of judgment, or within 180 days after the entry of judgment, whichever is earliest. This time period cannot be extended by any court or any stipulation.
Since a JNOV motion contemplates entry of a new and different judgment, a proposed judgment should be included with the motion or be submitted at the time of hearing at the latest. Prompt compliance is extremely important because the trial court has a very limited time in which to act on the JNOV motion.
Limitations on motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in California.
The main limitation to the JNOV motion is that the trial court’s power to grant a motion for JNOV is severely limited. The trial court may not grant a JNOV motion unless there is an actual verdict. If the jury returns no verdict or an incomprehensible verdict, a JNOV is not appropriate. See Mish v. Bruckus, (1950) 97 Cal. App. 2d 770, 776.
However if no substantial evidence supports the jury’s verdict a JNOV motion must be granted as one California Court of Appeal has stated in a published decision that the purpose of a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is not to afford a review of the jury’s deliberation but to prevent a miscarriage of justice in those cases where the verdict rendered by the jury is without foundation.
An experienced litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine whether filing a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is appropriate.
Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.
Schedule a free consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.
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CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NATHAN MUBASHER:
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Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.