In an action against the manufacturer for damages caused by a defect in an automobile, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $50,000, whereupon the trial judge stated, “Members of the jury, I am astounded. It is my opinion that that is clearly against the weight of the evidence in this case.” A motion for a new trial was made by the defendant, but the trial judge died before it could be heard by him. Subsequently, the motion was assigned to another judge of the district court who denied the motion on the ground that he was not free to weigh the evidence and on condition that the plaintiff remit so much of the verdict as was in excess of $31,060. Held: Remanded to the district court with instructions to reconsider the motion for a new trial by weighing the evidence and all other relevant factors. The court stated that one relevant factor was the expressed views of the trial judge at the time the verdict was rendered.
Despite the provision made in Rule 63 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which grants power to a succeeding judge to rule on motions left undecided by his predecessor, there remains the question of what can be considered by the successor in his determination of the motions.
William H. Hein,
Trial Practice—Motion for New Trial—What May a Succeeding Judge Consider in Ruling on Motion Made before His Predecessor,
34 Neb. L. Rev. 153
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