Judgment notwithstanding verdict

Judgment notwithstanding the verdict, also called judgment non obstante veredicto or JNOV) is a type of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that is ordered at the conclusion of a jury trial.

J.N.O.V. is the practice in American courts whereby the presiding judge in a civil jury trial may overrule the decision of a jury and reverse or amend their verdict. In literal terms, the judge enters a verdict notwithstanding the jury findings. This intervention, often requested but rarely granted, permits the judge to exercise discretion to avoid extreme and unreasonable jury decisions.

Because of the guaranteed right to a jury trial in United States criminal cases, a judge is not allowed to enter a JNOV of "guilty" following a jury acquittal.

A JNOV will be upheld on appeal only if the appellate court determines that no reasonable juror could have reached the verdict reached. For example, if a party enters no evidence on an essential element of their case, and the jury still finds in their favor, the court may rule that no reasonable jury would have disregarded the lack of evidence on that key point and will reform the judgment.

In criminal cases in the U.S., an analogous concept is that of a directed verdict.

Reversal of a jury's verdict by a judge occurs when the judge believes that there were insufficient facts on which to base the jury's verdict, or that the verdict did not correctly apply the law. This procedure is similar to a situation in which a judge orders a jury to arrive at a particular verdict, called a directed verdict. In fact, a judgment notwithstanding the verdict is occasionally made when a jury refuses to follow a judge's instruction to arrive at a certain verdict.


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