The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS J. MCAVOY
Presently before the court is a post trial motion by the plaintiffs Donald and Barbara Raymo (hereinafter "Raymo"). Within their motion, the plaintiffs request entry of a judgment as a matter of law against the defendants on the issue of liability. In the alternative, the plaintiffs seek a new trial on the basis that: 1) the jury was improperly charged; 2) the court improperly excluded important evidence; and 3) the jury's verdict was the product of improper "outside influences". The court will address these issues seriatim.
I. Motion for judgment as a matter of law.
The plaintiffs have moved pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50 and 59 for a judgment as a matter of law, or in the alternative for a new trial. Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides in pertinent part:
(a) Judgment as a Matter of Law.
(2) Motions for judgment as a matter of law may be made at any time before submission of the case to the jury. Such a motion shall specify the judgment sought and the law and the facts on which the moving party is entitled to the judgment.
(b) Renewal of Motion for Judgment After Trial; Alternative Motion for New Trial. Whenever a motion for a judgment as a matter of law made at the close of all the evidence is denied or for any reason is not granted, the court is deemed to have submitted the action to the jury subject to a later determination of the legal questions raised by the motion. Such a motion may be renewed by service and filing not later than 10 days after entry of judgment. A motion for a new trial under Rule 59 may be joined with a renewal of the motion for judgment as a matter of law, or a new trial may be requested in the alternative. If a verdict was returned, the court may, in disposing of the renewed motion, allow the judgment to stand or may reopen the judgment and either order a new trial or direct the entry of judgment as a matter of law.
The standard for granting a motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Rule 50(b) is whether "the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movants without, considering credibility or weight, reasonably permits only a conclusion in the movants favor." King v. Macri, 800 F. Supp. 1157, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12285, (S.D.N.Y. 1992) (quoting Jund v. Town of Hempstead, 941 F.2d 1271, 1290 (S.D.N.Y. 1992); See also Oakley v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12142, (N.D.N.Y. 1992); Jones v. Lederle Laboratories, Div. of American Cyanamid Co, 785 F. Supp. 1123, 1125 (E.D.N.Y. 1992). "Judgment as a matter of law is reserved for those rare occasions when there is 'such complete absence of evidence supporting the verdict that the jury's finding could only have been the result of sheer surmise and conjecture' or the evidence must be so overwhelming that reasonable and fair minded persons could only have reached the opposite result." King v. Macri, supra, at 6-7 (quoting Sorlucco v. New York City Police Department, 971 F.2d 864, 871 (2d Cir. 1992)).
Procedurally, in order to bring a Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) motion post-trial, "the moving party must have sought judgment as a matter of law in accordance with subsection (a)(2) before the case was submitted to the jury " and must thereafter renew the same under 50(b) by filing a motion "within ten days after entry of the judgment on the jury's verdict." Oakley v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, supra, (emphasis added); see also Dixon v. Aragona, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6735 (N.D.N.Y. 1992).
The plaintiffs support for their Rule 50(b) motion is grounded in their belief that the evidence presented at trial could lead a reasonable juror to no other conclusion except that the defendant manufacturer was liable. More specifically, it is the plaintiff's contention that defendant New Idea was negligent in the design and/or assembly of the manure spreader and that the manure spreader was not fit for its intended use when it left New Idea's hands. The court disagrees and denies the motion on its merits.
Given the pertinent standards addressed above, this court finds that the plaintiffs have not shown that the verdict is the result of surmise or emotion, or that it constitutes a miscarriage of justice. Rather, the court finds that the jury's determination as a whole was justifiable in light of the evidence presented at ...