Judge Mrazik has issued a “Decorum Order” in the medical malpractice trial of Holmes v. Davis. This order prohibits attendance at trial by members of the general public, but provides a WebEx link for remote viewing of the proceedings. We should see closing arguments on Friday morning.

Here’s a motion for directed verdict* filed by Dr. Davis and the opposition from plaintiffs. Also, proposed special verdict forms from Dr. Davis and from plaintiffs.​

*”Directed Verdict” and “JNOV” are obsolete terms. It’s six years ago that we on the Rules Committee dumped the antiquated language in Rule 50 of “motion for directed verdict” and “motion JNOV” to comport with modern practice and the revised federal rules.  As the Supreme Court recently noted in UMIA v. Saltz, 2022 UT 21, fn. 4:

“Effective May 2016, Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 50 was amended to change the terms “judgment notwithstanding the verdict” and “directed verdict” to “judgment as a matter of law.” See Arnold v. Grigsby, 2018 UT 14, ¶ 10 n.2, 417 P.3d 606. But this change in terminology did not alter the governing standard. UTAH R. CIV. P. 50 advisory committee’s notes to 2016 amendment. We generally follow the terminology of the amended rule in this opinion— speaking of “judgment as a matter of law” and employing the terms “judgment notwithstanding the verdict” and “directed verdict” only where these terms appear in motion titles, court order titles, and case law.”

Or read the Advisory Committee Note itself (quoting the 1991 federal rule’s Advisory Committee’s note):

“The revision abandons the familiar terminology of “direction of verdict” for several reasons. The term is misleading as a description of the relationship between judge and jury. It is also freighted with anachronisms some of which are the subject of the text of former subdivision (a) of this rule that is deleted in this revision. Thus, it should not be necessary to state in the text of this rule that a motion made pursuant to it is not a waiver of the right to jury trial, and only the antiquities of directed verdict practice suggest that it might have been. The term “judgment as a matter of law” is an almost equally familiar term and appears in the text of Rule 56; its use in Rule 50 calls attention to the relationship between the two rules. Finally, the change enables the rule to refer to preverdict and post-trial motions with a terminology that does not conceal the common identity of two motions made at different times in the proceeding.”

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For now, this is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which you’ll have to put. I retire in two months.

Salt Lake City Malpractice Attorney

Salt Lake Malpractice Attorney Blog