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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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Horvitz & Levy LLP successfully represented defendant Jacques Gaston Murray on appeal from a judgment in a breach of contract action. After the jury awarded the plaintiff approximately $5.6 million, Murray brought a motion for new trial based upon the insufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict. Murray argued that the great weight of the evidence did not support the jury’s verdict. At the hearing on the motion, the trial judge agreed that the plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to support the verdict. In particular, the trial judge stated that, in the court’s view, the plaintiff’s testimony had not been credible. The trial court denied the motion for new trial, however, because it concluded that it was required to defer to the jury’s assessment of the evidence.

The Court of Appeal (Second District, Division Eight) reversed and remanded for a redetermination of Murray’s motion for new trial. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeal held that a trial court, in hearing a motion for new trial, has a duty to evaluate and weigh the evidence independently to determine whether the jury clearly should have reached a different verdict. The court also held that Civ. Proc. Code, section 660, which imposes a 60-day limitation on a trial court’s jurisdiction to rule on a motion for new trial, does not preclude a trial court from considering a new trial motion on remand after appeal.

On remand, the trial court confirmed that “[g]iven the substantial extent to which [plaintiff’s] testimony was contradicted and impeached by the evidence . . . there was no basis for the jury to find that [plaintiff’s] version of events was more likely to be true than not true.” The trial court therefore granted Murray's motion for new trial, on the ground that it had “independently reevaluated the evidence, consistent with the Appellate Court’s instructions and legal standards,” and had found “that the weight of the evidence does not support the jury’s verdict.”