Legal Memorandum: Appellate Review of a Motion for a New Trials

Issue: What is the standard of appellate review for a motion to grant a new trial?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Standard of appellate review; Grant a new trial
Jurisdiction: Maryland
Cited Cases: 328 Md. 51; 367 Md. 17; 785 A.2d 756
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 08/01/2008

The Court of Special Appeals reviews the trial court’s refusal to grant a new trial for abuse of discretion.  “[D]enials of motions for new trials are reviewable on appeal and . . . discretionary rulings on such motions are subject to reversal where there is an abuse of discretion.”  Merritt v. State, 367 Md. 17, 28, 785 A.2d 756, 763 (2001); Buck v. Cam’s Broadloom Rugs, Inc., 328 Md. 51, 56-57, 612 A.2d 1294, 1297 (1992).  “[T]he breadth of a trial judge’s discretion to grant or deny a new trial is not fixed and immutable; rather it will expand or contract depending upon the nature of the factors being considered. . . .”  Buck, 328 Md. at 58-59, 612 A.2d 1298 (holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting a new trial based on finding that the damages verdict was so low as to be against the weight of the evidence).