Law School Case Brief
Knize v. Knize - 121 Conn. App. 787, 998 A.2d 198 (2010)
A trial court possesses inherent power to set aside a jury verdict if the verdict is against the law or the evidence.
Plaintiff, Francis Knize, brought an action against defendant, Waverly Knize, plaintiff’s former wife for libel, slander and character defamation. Plantiff claimed monetary damages as a result. The case was tried to the jury, which returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial, claiming that the verdict was contrary to law and that the evidence furnished no reasonable basis for the jury’s conclusion. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the court improperly denied his motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial.
Was the jury verdict against the law or evidence?
The Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the jury verdict was not against the evidence and was not contrary to the law. According to the Court, the jury could have reasonably reached the verdict it did. The Court noted that the trial court possessed inherent power to set aside a jury verdict if the verdict was against the law or the evidence. The Court posited that the trial court should not set aside a verdict where it was apparent that there was some evidence upon which the jury might reasonably reach its conclusion. Furthermore, the Court held that a trial court’s ruling on a motion to set aside a verdict would only be disturbed by the court if an abuse of discretion was manifest or an injustice appeared to have been done; neither of which was present in the case at bar.
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