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Lawrence A. Mancini v. Transportation

May 4, 2011

LAWRENCE A. MANCINI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRANSPORTATION, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY Senior United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b), a new trial pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59, and a reduction of the jury's verdict to present value.

I. FACTS

The facts of this case were previously set forth in the Court's prior Decisions and Orders in this case, familiarity with which is presumed. This matter proceeded to trial, after which a jury rendered a verdict in favor of Plaintiff. The jury found that Defendant was 18% negligent and awarded future damages as follows:

1. Lost wages and fringe benefits - $322,604

2. Pain and suffering - $50,000

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

a. Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law

As the Second Circuit has explained:

Rule 50 enables the district court to enter judgment as a matter of law against a party on an issue only if "there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for that party on that issue," Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(a), and permits the district court to do so after a jury verdict, provided a pre-verdict motion is properly renewed, Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b). The standard for post-verdict judgment as a matter of law is the same as for summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, This Is Me, Inc. v. Taylor, 157 F.3d 139, 142 (2d Cir. 1998), and thus "[a] district court must deny a motion for judgment as a matter of law unless, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, 'the evidence is such that, without weighing the credibility of the witnesses or otherwise considering the weight of the evidence, there can be but one conclusion as to the verdict that reasonable [persons] could have reached.'" Cruz v. Local Union No. Three of the Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, 34 F.3d 1148, 1154-55 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting Simblest v. Maynard, 427 F.2d 1, 4 (2d Cir.1970)) (second alteration in original).

Nadel v. Isaksson, 321 F.3d 266, 271-72 (2d Cir. 2003). Where, as here, a jury has deliberated in a case and actually returned its verdict, a district court may set aside the verdict pursuant to Rule 50 only where there is "such a complete absence of evidence supporting the verdict that the jury's findings could only have been the result of sheer surmise and conjecture, or there is such an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of the movant that reasonable and fair minded men could not arrive at a verdict against him." Cross v. New York City Transit Auth., 417 F.3d 241, 248 (2d Cir. 2005).

AMW Materials Testing, Inc. v. Town of Babylon, 584 F.3d 436, 456 (2d Cir. 2009).

b. Motion for a New Trial

"The standard for ordering a new trial is . . . somewhat less stern than that for entering judgment as a matter of law." Id. "A district court may grant a new trial pursuant to Rule 59 even when there is evidence to support the jury's verdict, so long as the court 'determines that, in its independent judgment, the jury has reached a seriously erroneous result or its verdict is a miscarriage of justice.'" AMW ...


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