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Motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in California

A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) in California is the topic of this blog post.  A motion for JNOV is authorized under Code of Civil Procedure section 629 and while more limited in scope than a motion for new trial is an even more powerful tool if used in the right situations. Since a JNOV challenges the legal sufficiency of the evidence at trial prevailing on the motion results in a new and different judgment in the moving party’s favor. A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict can be used in any California case in which a jury has rendered a verdict.

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.

Code of Civil Procedure § 629 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.”

Because new trial and JNOV motions 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 contemplates entry of a new and different judgment, a proposed judgment should be included with the motion or at least be submitted at the time of hearing. Prompt compliance is very important because the trial court has limited time in which to act on the motion for JNOV.

The main limitation to the JNOV is that the trial court’s power to grant a motion for JNOV is severely limited to situations where there is no substantial evidence to support the verdict. And the trial court may not grant a JNOV 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 there is no substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict than a JNOV must be granted as one California Court of Appeal has stated 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 is without foundation.

Attorneys and parties in California who would like to view a portion of a sample motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict that contains a memorandum of points and authorities, proposed order and proof of service by mail can see below.

 

Attorneys or parties in California that would like more information on a California law and motion litigation document package containing over 55 sample documents including a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) can use the link shown below.

California law and motion litigation document package

The author of this blog post Stan Burman is an entrepreneur and freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents.

Follow the author on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/LegalDocsPro

To subscribe to his FREE weekly legal newsletter visit: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

Copyright 2013 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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