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Legal Memorandum: Reversal of a Judgment in CA

Issue: May a judgment be reversed for an error in the jury instructions California?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Reversal of judgment; Error in the jury instructions
Jurisdiction: California
Cited Cases: 227 Cal. App. 2d 675
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2008

Under California law, jury instructions “should state rules of law in general terms and should not be calculated to amount to argument to the jury in the guise of a statement of law.”  Fibreboard Paper Products Corp. v. East Bay Union of Machinists, 227 Cal. App. 2d 675, 718 (1964).  A judgment may not be reversed for an error in the jury instructions unless “after an examination of the entire cause, including the evidence, the court shall be of the opinion that the error complained of has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.”  Zagami, Inc. v. James A. Crone, Inc., 160 Cal. App. 4th 1083, 1094 (2008).  It would have to be shown that the error had “prejudicially affected the verdict.”  Soule v. General Motors Corp., 8 Cal. 4th 548, 580 (1994).

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