SUPREME COURT: KINGS COUNTY – JURY VERDICT OVERTURNED UPON MOTION TO SET ASIDE AS AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE CREDIBLE EVIDENCE
Any jury—especially one in a venue akin to Kings County—is unpredictable, to say the least. Thankfully, on the occasion where a jury returns a verdict that fails to coincide with the weight of evidence presented at trial, the presiding judge, upon motion, will have the opportunity to review such a verdict. This process is widely known as making a motion to “set aside a verdict as against the weight of the evidence.”
After a motor vehicle accident trial this past July, a Kings County Jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff, which found defendant liable for causing the subject rear-end motor vehicle accident. This verdict was reached by the jury even though the evidence established at trial detailed that plaintiff was struck by a white Jeep, while the defendant owned and operated a blue Toyota Scion.
Within his motion, Partner Aaron Gross, Esq., argued that there was no credible evidence upon which the jury could have based its verdict. As noted, the testimony at trial, both by plaintiff and defendant, established that a white Jeep rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle, not the blue Toyota Scion owned and operated by the defendants. Further, the Court noted “plaintiff failed to provide a physical description of the defendant…[and] there is a complete lack of evidence that a blue Toyota Scion was involved in the accident.” In her ruling, the Honorable Judge Harriet Thompson, went on to reason that “the jury’s verdict could not be based on a fair interpretation of the evidence.”
More often than not, a successful motion to set aside a verdict results in the presiding judge ordering a new trial. What makes this particular victory so unique is the fact that Judge Thompson both vacated the jury verdict and then directed that a retrial was not needed as there was , no basis in law or fact to establish liability on the defendants.