The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiffs’ motions to set aside the verdict as against the weight of the evidence should not have been granted. The issue was whether plaintiffs established “serious injury” in a car accident. The Fourth Department explained the criteria for setting aside a jury verdict:
It is well established that ” [a] verdict rendered in favor of a defendant may be successfully challenged as against the weight of the evidence only when the evidence so preponderated in favor of the plaintiff that it could not have been reached on any fair interpretation of the evidence’ ” … . “Although [t]hat determination is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, . . . if the verdict is one that reasonable persons could have rendered after receiving conflicting evidence, the court should not substitute its judgment for that of the jury” … . Furthermore, “it is within the province of the jury to determine issues of credibility, and great deference is accorded to the jury given its opportunity to see and hear the witnesses” … .
Here, we conclude that the court erred in setting aside the jury’s verdict inasmuch as the jury was entitled to credit the testimony of defendant’s witnesses and reject the testimony of plaintiffs’ witnesses … . Even assuming, arguendo, that plaintiffs established a prima facie case of serious injury, we nevertheless conclude that the jury was entitled to reject the opinions of plaintiffs’ physicians … . The jury’s interpretation of the evidence was not ” palpably irrational’ ” … , or ” palpably wrong’ ” … , and the court therefore erred in granting plaintiffs’ motions. McMillian v Burden, 2016 NY Slip Op 00851, 4th Dept 2-5-16
CIVIL PROCEDURE (MOTION TO SET ASIDE VERDICT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED, CRITERIA EXPLAINED)/EVIDENCE (CIVIL, MOTION TO SET ASIDE VERDICT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED, CRITERIA EXPLAINED)/VERDICT (CIVIL, MOTION TO SET ASIDE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GRANTED, CRITERIA EXPLAINED)