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Objections to Verdicts That Are Against the Weight of Evidence Always Preserved for Appeal (NY)

November 15, 2019

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<p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-contrast="auto">In<em> <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Evans-v.-NYCT-1.pdf">Evans v. NYCT</a></em></span><span data-contrast="auto">, the Appellate Division heard an appeal from the plaintiff for a new trial claiming the jury verdict was against the weight of the </span><span data-contrast="auto">evidence.  The City opposed the appeal because plaintiff failed to make a post-verdict motion to set aside the verdict and claimed the objection was thereby waived.  The Second Department disagreed. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335551550&quot;:6,&quot;335551620&quot;:6,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-contrast="auto">P</span><span data-contrast="auto">laintiff was allegedly injured when she stepped off a bus owned and operated by NYCTA and into a pothole, causing her to fall.  Plaintiff </span><span data-contrast="auto">and a non-party witness testified that she stepped out of the back of the bus into a very large and deep pothole and she immediately fell to the ground.  The jury found that the bus driver was negligent for letting plaintiff off in an area where there was a pothole, but did not find that negligence to be a substantial factor in causing the accident</span><span data-contrast="auto">.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335551550&quot;:6,&quot;335551620&quot;:6,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-contrast="auto">Generally, you can only appeal a determination made at the trial court level.  </span><span data-contrast="auto">In considering plaintiff’s arguments, </span><span data-contrast="auto">however, </span><span data-contrast="auto">the court clarified that an appellant must never preserve a “weight of the evidence” argument for appellate review by making a post-trial motion to set aside the verdict.  In making that determination, the </span><span data-contrast="auto">court essentially overturned two prior decisions in </span><i><span data-contrast="auto">Condor v. City of New York</span></i><span data-contrast="auto"> and </span><i><span data-contrast="auto">Bendersky</span></i><i><span data-contrast="auto"> v. M &amp; O Enters. Corp</span></i><span data-contrast="auto">.</span><span data-contrast="auto">  The court concluded that an appeal can be taken from any final determination as an appellate court can review questions of law </span><i><span data-contrast="auto">and</span></i><span data-contrast="auto"> fact and as such, the Court always has the authority to review the weight of the evidence.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335551550&quot;:6,&quot;335551620&quot;:6,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-contrast="auto">Upon hearing plaintiff’s appeal, the Court found it was logically impossible for the jury to conclude that a) the driver was negligent, but b) but that such negligence was not a proximate cause of the accident</span><span data-contrast="auto">.</span><span data-contrast="auto">  As such, the matter was remitted back for a new trial.  </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335551550&quot;:6,&quot;335551620&quot;:6,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">As </span><span data-contrast="auto">a practice point, it is always best practice to preserve all appellate issues at the trial level, but there are certain rights that are never waived</span><span data-contrast="auto">. </span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"><span data-contrast="auto">Thanks to Mehreen Hayat for her contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.</span></p>

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