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Judgment Non Obstante Verdicto - What Is It, And Why Should You Care?

You've just won a hard-fought trial. The jury rendered a substantial verdict and you're happy that you won. Two weeks later the defense asks the trial judge to dismiss your hard-earned verdict and asks for judgment non obstante verdicto. What does it mean and why do you care?

Judgment non-obstante verdicto means that the lawyer is asking the judge to reverse the award or judgment despite the award. It's a Latin term used to say that the judgment should be overturned despite the verdict. Typically, a lawyer will make this argument when the jury has reached a decision that is so contrary to the evidence that's been presented.

For example, where an injury victim of hospital wrongdoing has presented eyewitnesses and expert doctors who have testified and confirmed that the treatment she received departed from good care, and the defense does not contradict those claims- it would appear that the decision is a 'no-brainer' and the doctor or hospital should be held responsible. However, for unknown reasons, the jury renders a verdict for the defense. In that instance the victims' attorney asks the Judge to set aside the jury verdict as being against the weight of the evidence.

A decision to overturn a jury verdict by a trial judge does not happen that often in New York- but on occasion it does.

If your attorney tells you that he can't understand how the jury could possibly have awarded a decision that they did, in all likelihood, your lawyer will suggest asking the Court to disregard the jury's award and render a verdict in your favor. In the alternative, he may also ask for a new trial.