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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court requires reasons for setting aside a verdict

You've seen it often in television courtroom dramas -- plaintiff wins after a hard fought trial, only to have the judge set aside the jury's verdict.

In Thomas M. Weida v. Donald and Kathy Kegarise, a 13-page, 5-0 opinion today (an appeal from Pulaski Circuit Court, Judge Michael Anthony Shurn), Chief Justice Shepard writes:

Setting aside a verdict because the trial court concludes that it is against the weight of the evidence is a weighty but well-recognized power of common law judges. Our rules require a judge who exercises this power to describe the reasons in some detail. When the trial court acts without giving reasons, the verdict should be reinstated on appeal. * * *

Conclusion. We direct reinstatement of the jury’s verdict.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 5, 2006 10:31 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions