Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Denman (Plaintiff), sued the Defendant, the Ross estate (Defendant), for personal injuries suffered by Plaintiff due to Defendant’s negligent driving in a car accident. The jury found for Plaintiff, however on Defendant’s motion, the judge granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in Defendant’s favor.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A finding of judgment notwithstanding the verdict is correct in cases where the original jury verdict is based on speculative facts.
Issue. Whether the trial correct correctly granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in Defendant’s favor based on Plaintiff’s evidentiary showing.
Held. Yes. There was no sound or reasonable basis upon which a jury or this Court can say that the Plaintiff met her burden of proof.
Discussion. It was the Plaintiff’s burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the Defendant was guilty of negligence and that such negligence was the proximate cause or contributing factor to the accident and resulting damage. The conclusion that the Plaintiff reached was based on speculation because the details of the accident were unknown to everybody. Therefore, a finding of a judgment notwithstanding the verdict was correct because a jury could not have thoroughly based a verdict on speculative facts such as these.