Legal Memorandum: Denial of a Motion for a New Trial

Issue: What is the standard of review in the Fifth Circuit tc "Standards of Review " l 2for a denial of a motion for a new trial?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Denial of a motion for a new trial; Standard of review
Jurisdiction: Fifth Circuit
Cited Cases: 641 F.2d 347; 805 F.2d 1225; 138 F.3d 1024; 671 F.2d 927; 805 F.2d 1258; 623 F.2d 355; 138 F.3d 1036; 606 F.2d 101; 154 F.3d 259; 975 F.2d 175
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2000

In assessing motions for new trial or remittitur the court is called upon to determine whether the verdict is excessive or contrary to the weight of evidence or has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.  Pinner v. Schmidt, 805 F.2d 1258, 1262 (5th Cir. 1986) (citing Bazile v. Bisso Marine Co., 606 F.2d 101, 105 (5th Cir. 1979)).  The standard of review on denial of a motion for new trial or remittitur is whether the trial court abused its discretion, rather than the reasonableness of the jury’s award.  Stokes v. Georgia‑Pac. Corp., 894 F.2d 764 (5th Cir. 1990). There is no abuse of discretion when the district court denies a motion for new trial unless there is a complete absence of evidence to support the verdict.  Vallot v. Central Gulf Lines, Inc., 641 F.2d 347, 349 (5th Cir. 1981) (per curiam).

A trial court should not grant a new trial on evidentiary grounds unless the verdict is against the great weight of the evidence.  Pryor v. Trane Co., 138 F.3d 1024, 1026 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting Dotson v. Clark Equip. Co., 805 F.2d 1225, 1227 (5th Cir. 1986)).  The district judge has "sound discretion" to grant or deny new trial motions, and the district court’s ruling will be affirmed unless there is a "clear showing that this discretion has been abused."  Pryor, 138 F.3d at 1026; see also Hidden Oaks Ltd. v. […]

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