judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV)

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A judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) is a judgment by the trial judge after a jury has issued a verdict, setting aside the jury's verdict and entering a judgment in favor of the losing party without a new trial. A JNOV is very similar to a directed verdict except for the timing within a trial. A judge will issue a JNOV if he or she determines that no reasonable jury could have reached the jury’s verdict based on the evidence presented at trial, or if the jury incorrectly applied the law in reaching its verdict. A trial judge may grant a JNOV in response to a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict by the losing party, or in some jurisdictions like California, sua sponte. In a civil case, the judge can grant a JNOV in favor of both plaintiffs and defendants. Some jurisdictions require that a party preserve the right to move for a JNOV by moving for a directed verdict earlier in the trial. A motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict is often filed together with a motion for a new trial by the losing party in response to the jury’s verdict. A judge’s decision to grant or deny a motion for JNOV is often reviewable on appeal.  The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have replaced JNOV with Judgment as a Matter of Law (JMOL).

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]