Post-Trial Orders

Before taking an appeal, a party dissatisfied with a final judgment can move for a post-trial order that would change the judgment. The most common motions are motions for a new trial or a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (or JNOV.) Often, a party will make both motions. However, the Code of Civil Procedure makes it difficult to have the court hear both motions together.

Date sent: Mon, 9 Feb 1998

Section 659 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires a party to file a notice of intention to move for a new trial within fifteen days of the date on which the clerk mails, or another party serves, [the judgment]. Section 629 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires a party to file a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict within the time for filing the notice of intention to move for a new trial. But to fill this gap, attorneys at my firm regularly endeavor to stipulate with opposing counsel that the JNOV memo is due at the same time as the new trial memo. When that fails, we apply to the court It s my impression that many appellate practitioners already find the demanding deadlines associated with post-trial motions to be troublesome even under the best conditions. My firm [Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May] is considering proposing an amendment, either to section 629 (less likely) or to Rules 203 and 503 (more likely), to remedy this situation. We are interested in any thoughts that any member might have.

Date sent: Mon, 9 Feb 1998

It is, indeed, a problem; and I would support your effort toward revising the Rules of Court.

Date sent: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 08:51:20 -0800

It's actually even more complicated. If you want to do a CCP 663 motion, you have to file a notice of intent (as with a new trial motion), but no statute specifies when the memo is filed. So presumably it has to be filed with the motion, just like a JNOV. So the end result is that there are three different procedures for post-trial motions: (1) the new trial procedure (notice of intent plus memo 15 days later); (2) the JNOV procedure (motion plus simultaneous memo); and (3) the CCP 663 procedure (notice of intent plus simultaneous memo). This is cuckoo. The remedy should be to have a single time-table for all post-trial motions, whatever the relief sought.

The above discussion was taken from the California Appellate Law Discussion list and edited.

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