Appeals of Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict

Generally, the normal way of seeking appellate review is by filing an appeal of the final judgment.  In reviewing the legal sufficiency of a court of appeals judgment reversing the trial court’s judgment notwithstanding the verdict, a legal sufficiency analysis of the evidence is conducted.  In Votar, L.L.C. v. HS R & A Co., 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 5632 (6th Cir. Mich. 2010), the court stated that in Michigan, the standard of review for judgments notwithstanding the verdict requires review of the evidence and all legitimate inferences most favorable to the nonmoving party.  If such evidence fails to establish a claim as a matter of law, then a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is granted.

An order passing on a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is generally interlocutory in nature and such interlocutory order is not final and not subject to immediate appeal.  In Luster v. Ledbetter, 647 F. Supp. 2d 1303 (M.D. Ala. 2009), the court stated that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, only final orders and judgments of district courts, or final orders of bankruptcy courts which have been appealed to and fully resolved by  a district court are generally appealable.

However, certain critical interlocutory orders such as an order holding a person in contempt of court, or the denial of a request for an interim injunction, can be immediately appealed even if the case may not have been fully disposed of.  Pursuant to USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 50,  if the court denies the motion for judgment as a matter of law, the prevailing party may, as appellee, assert grounds entitling it to a new trial should the appellate court conclude that the trial court erred in denying the motion. If the appellate court reverses the judgment, it may order a new trial, direct the trial court to determine whether a new trial should be granted, or direct the entry of judgment.


Inside Appeals of Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict