Post-Trial Motions Self-Quiz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John is walking on a sidewalk when Acme Construction Corp. decides to move its crane so that the piano being hoisted dangles precariously over John’s head. The crane operator, Mike, makes a sudden turn of the wheel, causing the cable to sway furiously, which in turn causes the piano to fall, just missing John. John, frightened and devastated because it was his $500,000 grand piano, sues Acme for negligence. During trial, John presents 10 witnesses, all of whom testify that in their opinion, Mike was intoxicated while operating the crane. John also presents pictures showing five empty beer cans littered on the floor of the crane’s cab. Finally, John presents testimony from Mike’s colleagues, all of whom state that Mike frequently operated the crane while intoxicated. After John rests his case, Mike testifies that he was not drunk while operating the crane. The jury returns a verdict for Mike, finding him to be not liable to John. John moves for a new trial. On what ground would John be most successful?
Choice 1 The verdict is inadequate or excessive.
Choice 2 The ground of newly discovers evidence.
Choice 3 The ground of “relief from judgment”.
Choice 4 The verdict is against the weight of the evidence.
John is walking on a sidewalk when Acme Construction Corp. decides to move its crane so that the piano being hoisted dangles precariously over John’s head. The crane operator, Mike, makes a sudden turn of the wheel, causing the cable to sway furiously, which in turn causes the piano to fall, just missing John. The piano crashes to the ground and splinters into thousands of pieces. John, frightened because the piano almost hit him, and devastated because it was his grand piano worth $500,000, sues Acme for compensatory and punitive damages. During trial, John presents 10 witnesses, all of whom testify that, in their opinion, Mike was intoxicated while operating the crane. John also presents pictures showing five empty beer cans littered on the floor of the crane’s cab. Finally, John presents testimony from Mike’s colleagues, all of whom state that Mike frequently operated the crane while intoxicated. After John rests his case, Mike testifies that he was not drunk while operating the crane. The jury returns a verdict for John, finding Mike negligent, and awards $100,000. John moves for a new trial. On what ground would John be most successful?
Choice 1 The verdict is inadequate or excessive.
Choice 2 The ground of newly discovers evidence.
Choice 3 The ground of “relief from judgment”.
Choice 4 The verdict is against the weight of the evidence.
Assume that John does not move for a new trial. The judge, reading the jury’s verdict, decides that the verdict is inadequate and, on its own, orders a new trial. Acme argues that such an action is improper. Is Acme correct?
Choice 1 Yes. Only a party may move for a new trial.
Choice 2 Yes. A judge may only respond to a motion from a party.
Choice 3 No. A judge may order a new trial on its own.
Choice 4 No. A judge has the power to do whatever it wants at any time.
What if the jury returned a verdict for John, finding Mike negligent, and awards $1 million. Is Acme likely to be successful in moving for a new trial on the ground that the verdict is excessive?
Choice 1 No, because $1 million is never excessive.
Choice 2 No, because $1 million may not necessarily be excessive.
Choice 3 Yes, because $1 million in this type of case is definitely excessive.
Choice 4 Yes, because John was only entitled to $500,000.
While walking on a public sidewalk in the Village of Greenacre, Seth trips over a crack in the sidewalk and is injured. Seth sues the Village of Greenacre for damages. The jury, finding the Village liable, awards Seth damages to compensate him for his injuries. After the jury renders its verdict, the pertinent law is amended to require a municipality to receive notice of a defective condition before it can be held liable. Before the law was changed, there was no requirement that the municipality receive notice of a defective condition before it can be held liable. The Village moves for a new trial on the basis that the law has changed and that because it was not given any notice of the defective condition, it cannot be held liable for Seth’s injuries. How will the judge rule?
Choice 1 The judge will grant the motion because the law has changed – the Village cannot be held liable.
Choice 2 The judge will grant the motion because the law has changed – it would not be fair to hold the Village liable, and any enforcement of the judgment will be illegal.
Choice 3 The judge will not grant the motion because the basis for the motion is insufficient.
Choice 4 The judge will not grant the motion because the Village has no right to ask for a new trial.
Assume the same facts above, except that the law changed in the middle of the action. The Village moves to alter the judgment on the ground that under the new law, it cannot be held liable for Seth’s injuries. (It is conceded that no notice was given.) Will the court grant or deny the motion?
Choice 1 Grant, because the law changed in the middle of the trial, the new law applies.
Choice 2 Deny, because even though the law changed, the old law applies.
Choice 3 Deny, because a change in the law never affects an action once the action is commenced.
Choice 4 Grant, because municipalities should be given deference in their motions.

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