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On appeal, the only question in respect to a directed verdict is whether a court erred in directing a verdict. The standards are the same whether a decision on a motion comes before or after jury submission and whether a case was a close one or an easy one. An appellate court must take that view of the evidence which is most favorable to a party against whom a verdict was sought to be directed. If there is any evidence to sustain a defense or a cause of action, a case must be submitted to a jury. Evidentiary weight and sufficiency is for a jury. If there is any evidence other than mere conjecture or incredible evidence to support a contrary verdict, a case must go to a jury. Incredible evidence is evidence in conflict with the uniform course of nature or with fully established or conceded facts.
Plaintiffs, Oscar and Pearl Samson, brought suit charging defendants with improperly preparing food that caused plaintiffs to become ill after consuming the food at a luncheon. The trial court granted defendants' directed verdict motions and did not permit the case to go to the jury. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the case was close and, therefore, should have been submitted to the jury.
Under the circumstances, should the court have submitted the case to the jury?
The court affirmed the trial court's decision. Viewing the evidence in the required light most favorable to the non-moving plaintiffs, there was no possible theory of recovery to sustain their cause of action and to justify submission of the case to the jury. Plaintiffs failed to establish the elements required to recover on their negligence claims. Plaintiffs also failed to establish that defendants were vicariously liable, that defendants had breached an implied warranty, or that defendants' conduct constituted negligence per se under Wis. Stat. § 97.25.