-- In her complaint, P claims damages of $100,000. Does that limit the amount she can recover if the case goes to trial?
No - you can recover whatever the evidence supports
The complaint only limits recovery in default judgment cases.
Remember, in limited civil cases, no claimant can recover more than $25,000
Right to jury
The Seventh Amendment does not apply in state court. But theCalifornia Constitution grants right to jury trial along the same law/equity split as the Seventh Amendment. Some matters are handled differently from federal court, though.
You get a jury to determine issues of fact relating to causes of action at law, not equity. If case involves both law and equity, jury determines the facts on the law cause
of action and judge determines the facts on the equity cause of action. BUT, unlike federal court, generally here...
we try the facts on the equity cause of action first (federal court is the other way around) (Equity First Rule)
P’s complaint states an equity cause of action, for an injunction against future trespass, and also seeks incidental damages for past trespass. In federal court there is a right to have a jury determine the facts relating to damages. What about in California state courts?
There is no jury at all because the damages are merely incidental to the equity cause of action (Equity Clean up Doctrine - where they look at the center of gravity and gist of the case)
Requirement of demand
A party must “announce” her demand for jury (orally or in
writing) at the time the case is set for trial or within five days after notice of the setting of trial. Usually, this is made in the case management statement. Failure to demand constitutes waiver.
# of jurors
In state court, there are 12 jurors in civil cases unless
the parties agree in open court to a lesser number.
-- If a juror is excused for illness or other reason, an alternate juror takes her place. If there is no alternate, trial continues unless a party objects.
In the voir dire process, each party may raise unlimited challenges for cause (like in federal court, whether to strike the potential juror is the judge’s decision).
each party gets six peremptory challenges (federal court it’s three per side).
Peremptory challenges may not be used on the basis of...
“race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or similar grounds.”
Broader than the protection the federal court which only prohibits race and gender based discrimination
Verdict. In federal court, the jury verdict must be unanimous unless the parties agree
otherwise. In state court, what is required?
You need 3/4 of the jurors (9/12)
Motion for directed verdict. This is what the federal courts call motions for judgment
as a matter of law (JMOL). Standard:
reasonable people could not disagree as to the
Technically, you move for directed verdict only at the close of all evidence. If D moves for this at the close of P’s opening statement or at the close of P’s evidence at trial, it is often called
a motion for non-suit
Motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). What the federal courts call renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law (RJMOL).
same as directed verdict. So the court is saying the jury reached a conclusion reasonable people could not have reached. Same as in federal court.
Timing for JNOV
must file notice of intention to move either before entry of judgment or the earlier of these:
-- 15 days of mailing or service of notice of entry of judgment or
-- 180 days after entry of judgment.
In federal court, you must move for JMOL at trial to preserve your right to move for
RJMOL after trial. In state court, must the party moving for JNOV have moved for
directed verdict at trial?
No - no prereq
Motion for a new trial.
same as JNOV
Motion for a new trial. Bases
Same as in federal court: something convinces the judge that the parties should retry the case – “that the error complained of has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.”
One ground for new trial is excessive or inadequate damages. What is the standard for
ordering new trial on this ground?
The damages figure shocks the conscience
Can California courts use both remittitur and additur?
Motion to set aside judgment. A party may move to set aside judgment because of...
“mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.”
Motion to set aside judgment must be made within:
reasonable time, not to exceed six months after entry of judgment
The court must set aside
the judgment if the party’s application is accompanied by:
the lawyer's affidavit of his own, mistake, inadvertence or neglect
In addition, a party can move to set aside judgment if....
service of process on her did not result in actual notice of the case.