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Friday, February 14, 2020

Appellate Review of a Jury's Verdict under Tennessee Law

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently released its opinion in Golden v. Powers, No. E2019-00712-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 12, 2020).  The syllabus from the opinion reads:
This appeal concerns a jury verdict in a personal injury case. Joanna L. Golden [] was jogging in the dark early one morning when she was struck accidentally by a car driven by Cynthia D. Powers []. Golden and her husband, Douglas K. Rice . . . sued Powers in the Circuit Court for Hawkins County []  asserting various claims including negligence. The matter was tried before a jury. The jury found Golden to be 80% and Powers 20% at fault. Plaintiffs filed a motion for a new trial, which the Trial Court denied. Plaintiffs appeal to this Court arguing that the Trial Court failed to act as thirteenth juror and that the jury’s allocation of fault was unsupported by material evidence. Plaintiffs argue also that the jury was prejudiced against them for their being well-off out-of-towners. We find, first, that the Trial Court independently weighed the evidence and acted properly as thirteenth juror. We find further that the jury’s allocation of fault is supported by material evidence. Finally, Plaintiffs’ claim of jury prejudice is speculative, at best. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court. 
Here is a link to the slip opinion:

NOTE: This appeal is a good reminder of what goes into the appellate review of a jury's verdict under Tennessee law.  It is worth reading in my humble opinion.

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