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NEW TRIAL & WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE - TAYLOR V. WHEELER

Taylor v. Wheeler, [Ms. 2150776, Dec. 16, 2016] __ So.3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2016). The sharply divided Court of Civil Appeals (Thomas, J., and Pittman, J., concur; Donaldson, J., concurs specially; Thompson, P.J., dissents, with writing, with which Moore, J., joins), reverses the St. Clair Circuit Court's order granting a new trial based on weight of evidence grounds in an automobile collision/sudden emergency case upon finding that the circuit court exceeded its discretion because the verdict was not against the great weight or preponderance of the evidence.

The Court states the standard for granting a new trial in such circumstances:

A trial court may grant a new trial when it "believes that justice demands that a new trial be granted on the weight and preponderance ground." Jawad v. Granade, 497 So. 2d 471, 477 (Ala. 1986).

"In the landmark case Jawad v. Granade, 497 So. 2d 471 (Ala. 1986), this Court established the standard of review it would apply in cases where a party appeals from an order granting a motion for a new trial on the basis that the jury's verdict was 'against the great weight or preponderance of the evidence':

"'An order granting a motion for new trial on the sole ground that the verdict is against the great weight or preponderance of the evidence will be reversed for abuse of discretion where on review it is easily perceivable from the record that the jury verdict is supported by the evidence.'

Ms. * 5-6, quoting Jawad, 497 So.2d at 477, and Scott v. Parnell, 775 So.2d 789, 791 (Ala. 2000).

The three-vote majority concludes, based upon conflicting testimony, that the jury's verdict was supported by the evidence such that the St. Clair Circuit Court exceeded its discretion in granting a new trial when the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict.

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