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Civil Procedure II Outline - Part 21

Download the PDF version of this outline

<< Part 20 | Part 22 >>

mmmm. The Rule 50 B standard.

  1. Remember that the rule 50(b) motion is simply a renewed rule 50(a) motion so it stands to reason that courts will employ the same analysis.
    1. One difference between the two motions is that they implicitly distinct pragmatic concerns mentioned earlier.
    2. The other difference is that the motions may be made on different records if the rule 50 a motion is made at the close of the plaintiffs evidence then rule 50b made within 28 days after entry of judgment. The court ruling will have the benefit of the defendants evident which it would ont have had in the ruling on the pripor 50a motion.

nnnn. Denying a judgment as a matter of law.

  1. Hardee Case

oooo. Procedural Technicalities of Rule 50

  1. Rule 50 does not require the motion to be in writing.
    1. Must specify the law and facts that entitle the movant to the judgment
      1. 50a2
  2. Multiple Rule 50a motion
    1. Rule 50 a does not prohibit making two rule 50a motions.
      1. A motion for judgment as a matter of law may be made at any time before the case is submitted to the jury.
        1. 50a2
      2. The only imitation is that the motion cannot be made until a “party has been fully heard on an issue”
        1. Rule 50a1
      3. Taken together those two subsections mean that a rule 50 a motion can typically be made either (1) after the no-moving party (usually the plaintiff has been heard on the issue” (2) after both parties have presented all of their evidence or (3) at both times.
  3. Look on page 1104
  4. The meaning of “fully Heard”
    1. Rule 50a1
      1. Says that a court can grant a judgment as a matter of law after “ a party has been fully heard on an issue. This means that a party can make a motion after the nonmoving party has had an opportunity to present all of her evidence on the issue that is the subject of the motion.
  5. A Better Outcome for a later filed motion
    1. In courts that adopt the federal standard, why is a defendant rule 50a motion more likely to succeed when it is made at the close of all of the evidence than when it is made just after the plaintiff has finished presenting her case.
      1. If a defendant makes a rule 50 motion after the plaintiff has presented her evidence but before the defendant has offered his, the court only has the plaintiff's evidence to consider. The plaintiff's evidence alone may suffice to cross the all important line x but if the defendant makes a rule 50 motion at the close of all of the evidence, the federal court has the benefit of having heard the defendants side as well. If this additional evidence is uncontradicted and unimpeached it may be sufficient to push the evidence back on the other side of line x.
        1. Scintilla rule
          1. Doesn't matter always looking at the nonmovant party’s evidence.
    2. Prerequisite for a renewed motion under rule 50 b
      1. Rule 50 b specifies
        1. If the court does not grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law made under rule 50 a the court is considered to have submitted the action to the jury subjection to the courts later deciding the legal questions raised by the motion.
          1. This means that if a party fails to make a rule 50a motion, the party has waived the opportunity to make a rule 50 b motion.
        2. Parties can now make a rule 50 b motion as long as they previously made a rule 50 a motion at some point after the nonmoving party had been fully heard on the relevant issue and before submission of the case to the jury.
        3. Why
          1. Serves the important purpose of ensuring that cases are decided on their merits.
            1. If parties could make rule 50 b motion without first making rule 50 a motion parties would rarely make 50a motions parties would let the case go to a jury and raise the adversary's omission only if the adversary wins at which time the adversary has no opportunity to correct the omission. To prevent this kind of sandbagging and ensure that cases do not turn on inadvertently to the problem at a time when the adversary can fix it by making a rule 50 a motions before the case is submitted to the jury.
      2. Cannot change the basis for the motion
        1. Whatever issue you raised on 50a has to be the same issue you raised on 50 b
    3. Prerequisites for appeals.
      1. The united states supreme court has made clear that a party's rule 50a motion cannot be appealed unless the motion is renewed pursuant to rule 60(b)
        1. Reasoning - For the judgment in the first instance of the judge who saw and heard the witnesses and has the fall of the case which no appellate printed transcript can impart.
          1. Thus if a party fails to ask the district judge to make that determination in a post verdict motion, the party waives the issue on appeal.
      2. Standard of review on appeal.
        1. De novo standard of review when reviewing the trial court's ruling on a rule 50 motion.
    4. Judgements as a matter of law summary of basic principles
      1. Rule 50 authorizes a judge to grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law after the non-moving party has been fully hear on an issue at trial
      2. Rule 50 B permits a party to renew a rule 50 a motion for judgment as a matter of law after the jury has rendered its verdict. State courts and older federal opinions refer to these motions as motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
      3. The standard for applying rule 50 is essentially the same as the standard that courts employ when deciding a motion for summary judgment under rule 56
      4. To determine whether the non-moving party has offered legally sufficient evidence a federal court will consider the non moving party's evidence along with any of the moving parties uncontradicted and unimpeached evidence. The court will then determine whether in light of this evidence a reasonable jury could render a verdict for the non-moving party
      5. At least one state uses the scintill standard and deines a motion if there is a sincitlle of evidence to evaluate to support the non-moving party's case under this approach courts will not consider the moving party's evidence even when it is uncontradicted or impeached
      6. Rule 50 a requires the moving party to specify the basis for the motion and the motion cannot be made until the non-moving party has been fully heard on the issue that is the basis for the motion.
      7. A party cannot renew a motion for judgment as a matter of law under rule 50b unless the party previously made a rule 50a motion that raises the same issue.
      8. A party cannot appeal a denial of rule 50a motion unless that party renewed the motion under rule 50 b after the jury's verdict. AN appellate court will apply a de novo standard of review when determining whether the non-moving party offered legally sufficient evidence to withstand a motion for judgment as a matter of law.
State Law in Federal Courts: The Erie Doctrine. Segment 19

pppp. The subjects upon which congress has the authority to legislate are enumerated in article one section 8 of the constitution

  1. These include matters of national interest.
    1. However cases that involve state law are not always litigated in state court because article 3 section 2 authorizes federal courts to hear cases between citizens of different states.
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