law-JNOV = judgment n.o.v. = judgment notwithstanding the verdict = judgment non obstante veredicto
Rule 301 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure permits a trial court to render a judgment notwithstanding the
verdict “if a directed verdict would have been proper.” TEX. R. CIV. P. 301. Furthermore, Rule 301 permits a
trial court to “disregard any jury’s finding on a question that has no support in the evidence.” Id.
JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT
JUDGMENT NON OBSTANTE VEREDICTO (JNOV)
A trial court generally may disregard a jury verdict and render judgment notwithstanding the verdict
("JNOV") only if (1) no evidence supports the jury finding on an issue necessary to liability; (2) the
evidence conclusively establishes the right of the movant to judgment; (3) the evidence conclusively
negates the right of the opponent to judgment; or (4) the evidence is insufficient to raise a material
fact issue. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 301 (allowing trial court to render JNOV if jury finding has no support in
evidence or if directed verdict would have been proper; Tiller v. McLure, 121 S.W.3d 709, 713 (Tex.
2003); Fort Bend County Drainage Dist. v. Sbrusch, 818 S.W.2d 392, 394 (Tex. 1991); Prudential
Ins. Co. v. Fin. Review Servs., Inc., 29 S.W.3d 74, 77 (Tex. 2000) (setting out circumstances when
directed verdict is proper); Hogue v. Propath Lab., Inc., 192 S.W.3d 641, 646 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth
2006, pet. denied).
But a trial court may, without a motion by a party, disregard a jury's finding on an issue erroneously
submitted, such as a question of law. Alcorn v. Brown, 536 S.W.2d 80, 82 (Tex. Civ. App- Fort Worth
1976, writ ref'd n.r.e.); see also Se. Pipe Line Co., Inc. v. Tichacek, 997 S.W.2d 166, 172 (Tex.
1999) (noting that a jury's answer to a question may be disregarded if question calls for a finding on a
question of law).
09-0575 BOBBY FERACHI v. SHAWN CADY; from Denton County;
2nd district (02-07-00355-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 05-28-09)(contract for purchase of interest in houseboat
unsuccessfully challenged as indefinite and unenforceable, indefiniteness of contract, meeting of the minds
A judgment notwithstanding the verdict is proper when (1) the evidence is conclusive and one party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law or (2) a legal principle precludes recovery. Sheehan v. Adams, 320 S.W.3d
890, 895 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no pet.) (citing Tiller v. McLure, 121 S.W.3d 709, 713 (Tex. 2003) (per
curiam)); see Tex. R. Civ. P. 301. We review a party's challenge to the trial court's grant or denial of a motion
for judgment notwithstanding the verdict under the standard for legal sufficiency. See City of Keller, 168 S.W.
3d at 823.
Standard of Review for JNOV. When reviewing the legal sufficiency of a court of appeals judgment
reversing the trial court’s judgment n.o.v., we conduct a legal sufficiency analysis of the evidence. Guevara v.
Ferrer, 247 S.W.3d 662, 665 (Tex. 2007). We review the evidence presented at trial in the light most
favorable to the jury’s verdict, crediting evidence favorable to that party if reasonable jurors could and
disregarding contrary evidence unless reasonable jurors could not. Id.
EXCEPTION TO PRESERVATION OF ERROR REQUIREMENT IN JNOV CONTEXT
Deere argues that error was not preserved because Ingram’s motion for a judgment n.o.v. did not assign a no
evidence point of error regarding the jury’s answer to the partnership question. However, Ingram prevailed on
his motion for judgment n.o.v. Thus, as the prevailing party, he need only raise the issue of whether a
partnership existed as a cross-point. Tex. R. App. P. 38.2(b). When a trial court renders judgment n.o.v. and
the losing party appeals, the prevailing party may also appeal and present points or issues on any ground
that would either vitiate the verdict or preclude affirming the judgment and reinstating the verdict, including
grounds not raised in the judgment n.o.v. See id. (providing that when a trial court renders a judgment n.o.v.,
“the appellee must bring forward by cross-point any issue or point that would have vitiated the verdict or that
would have prevented an affirmance of the judgment if the trial court had rendered judgment on the verdict”
(emphasis added)). This is an exception to the general rule that as a prerequisite to presenting a complaint
for appellate review, the record must show that the complaint was made to the trial court and that the trial
court ruled or refused to rule on the request. See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1(a). Because Ingram properly raised the
issue to the court of appeals, he did not waive the issue for review by either this Court or the court of appeals.
JUDGMENT NOTWITHSTANDING THE VERDICT (JNOV)
A trial court may disregard a jury verdict and render JNOV if no evidence supports the jury findings on issues
necessary to liability or if a directed verdict would have been proper. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 301; Tiller v.
McLure, 121 S.W.3d 709, 713 (Tex. 2003); Fort Bend County Drainage Dist. v. Sbrusch, 818 S.W.2d 392,
394 (Tex. 1991). A directed verdict is proper only under limited circumstances: (1) when the evidence
conclusively establishes the right of the movant to judgment or negates the right of the opponent; or (2) when
the evidence is insufficient to raise a material fact issue. Prudential Ins. Co. v. Fin. Review Servs., Inc., 29 S.
W.3d 74, 77 (Tex. 2000); Ray v. McFarland, 97 S.W.3d 728, 730 (Tex. App.- Fort Worth 2003, no pet.).
To determine whether the trial court erred by rendering a JNOV, we view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the verdict under the well-settled standards that govern legal sufficiency review. See Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc. v. Miller, 102 S.W.3d 706, 709 (Tex. 2003). The standard for reviewing a judgment
notwithstanding the verdict, like all other motions rendering judgment as a matter of law, requires a reviewing
court to credit evidence favoring the jury verdict if reasonable jurors could and disregard contrary evidence
unless reasonable jurors could not. Cent. Ready Mix Concrete Co. v. Islas, 228 S.W.3d 649, 651 (Tex.
2007). If the trial court grants a motion for JNOV on the wrong ground, we must nevertheless affirm the
judgment if any theory in the motion could support the JNOV. Wallis v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n, 2 S.W.3d
300, 302 (Tex. App.- San Antonio 1999, pet. denied); see also Guar. County Mut. Ins. Co. v. Reyna, 709 S.W.
2d 647, 648 (Tex. 1986) (holding that lower court's judgment must be upheld on any correct legal theory
before it, even if court gave an incorrect reason for the judgment).
R2 ENTERPRISES, INC. AND TED REEVES v. VERNON WHIPPLE; from Denton County; 2nd district
(02-07-00257-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 06-26-08, pet. denied Sep 2008)(JNOV, partnership dispute, no standing)
This case involves a dispute between one of the limited partners of a limited partnership and the other limited
partner and the general partner of the limited partnership.
A trial court's decision to grant a judgment notwithstanding the verdict should be affirmed if the evidence is
legally insufficient to support one or more of the jury findings on issues necessary to liability. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc. v. Miller, 102 S.W.3d 706, 709 (Tex. 2003) (per curiam); Mancorp, Inc. v. Culpepper,
802 S.W.2d 226, 227 (Tex.1990). Evidence is legally insufficient where (1) there is a complete lack
of evidence of a vital fact; (2) the court is barred by rules of law or of evidence from giving weight to
the only evidence offered to prove a vital fact; (3) the evidence offered to prove a vital fact is no more
than a scintilla; or (4) the evidence conclusively establishes the opposite of a vital fact. Lochinvar
Corp. v. Meyers, 930 S.W.2d 182, 188 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1996, no writ). In a legal sufficiency review,
we consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and indulge every reasonable
inference that would support it. City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 822 (Tex. 2005). The
ultimate test of legal sufficiency is whether the evidence would enable reasonable and fair-minded
people to reach the verdict under review, crediting favorable evidence if reasonable jurors could and
disregarding contrary evidence unless reasonable jurors could not. Id. at 827; Deere v. Ingram, 198
S.W.3d 96, 100 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, pet. granted).
GLOBAL WATER GROUP, INC. v. ASPEN WATER, INC. AND ROBERT ATCHLEY; from Dallas County; 5th
district (05-06-00709-CV, 244 SW3d 924, 02-14-08, pet. denied)(claims for misappropriation of trade
secrets and conspiracy, confidentiality agreement, breach of a shareholder agreement, JNOV)
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