Tesser v. BOE
2nd Circuit Court - 2004 (370 F.3d 314)
- P was an assistant principal who wanted to be promoted to principal when the position opened up.
- When the position opened up, she was not promoted and claimed that her non-promotion was because of religious discrimination.
- P sued D. Jury found for D on all counts, no discrimination.
- P moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial.
- District court denied Ds motions for judgment n.o.v. and for new trial.
- Circuit court affirmed, denied Ds motions for judgment n.o.v and for new trial.
- What is required by a party to win a motion for judgment n.o.v. or for a new trial.
- In order to win a motion for judgment n.o.v., the party must show that there is such a complete absence of evidence supporting the verdict that the jury's findings could only have been the result of sheer surmise and conjecture or that there is such an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of the movant that reasonable and fair minded persons could not arrive at a verdict against it. (Judge must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict winner.)
- In order to win a motion for a new trial, a party must convince the court that the jury has reached a seriously erroneous result or that the verdict is a miscarriage of justice. (Judge can weight the evidence himself, not view it in the light most favorable to the verdict winner.)
- A reasonable jury could concluded that P failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the Ds retaliated against the P because of her complaints of discrimination.
- Ds testimony was not lacking in credibility.
- A jury is not required to deliberate for any set length of time.
- The jury did not reach a seriously erroneous result in deciding that P had not carried her burden of proof, and the verdict is not a miscarriage of justice.
- There is a high threshold before a judge concludes that something went wrong.