RULE 50. MOTION FOR A DIRECTED VERDICT

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Rule 50.05: Motion for New Trial Not Necessary after Directed Verdict.

Whenever a court shall have granted a directed verdict, it shall not be necessary for the party against whom the verdict was directed to file a motion for a new trial in order to obtain appellate review of such action of the court.

Advisory Commission Comments.

50.01: It is not the intention of these Rules to affect constitutional powers or jurisdictional rules. This Rule therefore does not enlarge or restrict a chancery court’s authority to withdraw issues from the jury. It simply describes the procedure to be followed in directing verdicts in chancery cases as well as in circuit cases, subject always to any constitutional or jurisdictional limitations.

50.02: This Rule permits a trial judge to take under advisement a motion for directed verdict without actually granting or denying it at the trial. The power of the court to grant a directed verdict on post-trial motion, either following a verdict or in event of a mistrial because of disagreement of the jury, has long been recognized in Tennessee. This Rule, however, does permit the filing of a post-trial motion for directed verdict without its being incorporated into a motion for a new trial although the latter is still permitted.

50.05: This Rule eliminates the previous requirement that a party against whom a verdict has been directed must file a motion for a new trial in order to obtain appellate review of the action of the court in directing the verdict. The former rule was technical in the extreme, especially when the directed verdict came on post-trial motion of the defendant; in such cases, if the plaintiff failed to make a subsequent motion for new trial, he or she could not obtain review of the action of the trial court. See Howell v. Wallace E. Johnson, Inc., 42 Tenn. App. 15, 298 S.W.2d 753 (1956).

The action of a trial court in directing a verdict, of course, is not the action of the jury. Previous procedure has not required a motion for a new trial in nonjury proceedings. Tenn. Code Ann. § 27-303 et seq. [repealed]. This Rule seems to the Committee therefore to be consistent with the previous rules in nonjury proceedings.

 Advisory Commission Comments [1998].

Adding the sentence in Rule 50.01 concerning reservation of a ruling was thought necessary in light of Tennessee's adoption of comparative fault.

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