This unit, which is quite short, describes three clusters of post-trial motions all found in the FRCPs: the Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, the Motion for a New Trial, and the various FRCP 60(b) motions for relief from judgment.
13.1 The Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (aka “Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law After the Verdict,” “JNOV” or “RJMOL”) is, as the name suggests, the renewal of a JMOL motion (discussed in Unit 12) after the jury has returned a verdict. We will briefly discuss its history, why the potential for such a motion could be desirable, and some common pitfalls young attorneys might make in trying to put forward such a motion.
13.2 Motion for a New Trial is a separate motion found in FRCP 59. Unlike the RJMOL, the result is not judgment for the other side but the initiation of an entirely new trial. We will discuss the standards under which courts may grant the motion and how they handle the situation of litigants filing both an RJMOL motion and a motion for a new trial in the same case.
13.3 [OPTIONAL] Conditional New Trial (Additur and Remittitur) is an entirely optional set of readings—I won’t teach or test it. It concerns a practice some view as equivalent to “judicial blackmail”: a judge threatening to order a new trial unless the Defendant pays more than the jury awarded or the Plaintiff accepts a smaller dollar amount.
13.4 Motion for Relief from Judgment describes the very narrow circumstances under FRCP 60 where a party can seek relief from judgment for clerical mistakes, “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect,” and other unusual circumstances.
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