United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
JAMES J. HAMILTON, Plaintiff,
BROC GREMMINGER, et at., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. JACKSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the plaintiff's pro
se motion for a new trial pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(a)(1) and his motions for dismissal of his
counsel and for an order requiring the defendant to reimburse
him for the filing fee.
Motions To Dismiss Counsel And For Payment Of Filing
21, 2017, the Court granted counsel's motion to withdraw
from the case. Plaintiff's motion to relieve counsel is
therefore moot. Similarly, the Court has already denied
plaintiff's request for a special hearing on the issue of
the alleged medical fraud. Accordingly, this request is also
motion for an order directing the defendant to reimburse him
for the fee required to file the complaint is redundant of
the claim set forth in his bill of costs. Therefore, the
motion will be denied.
Motion For New Trial
“confirms the trial court's historic power to grant
a new trial based on its appraisal of the fairness of the
trial and the reliability of the jury's verdict.”
Gray v. Bicknell, 86 F.3d 1472, 1480 (8th Cir.
1996). District courts enjoy substantial discretion in
determining whether to grant a new trial. Belk v. City of
Eldon, 228 F.3d 872, 878 (8th Cir. 2000); Novak v.
Gramm, 469 F.2d 430, 434 (8th Cir. 1972) (affirming the
denial of a new trial because the jury award was not
“plainly unjust, monstrous, or shocking.”).
new trial is appropriate when the first trial, through a
verdict against the weight of the evidence, an excessive
damage award, or legal errors at trial, resulted in a
miscarriage of justice.” Gray, 86 F.3d at
1480. “In determining whether a verdict is against the
weight of the evidence, the trial court can rely on its own
reading of the evidence - it can weigh the evidence,
disbelieve witnesses, and grant a new trial even where there
is substantial evidence to sustain the verdict.”
Harris v. Sec'y U.S. Dep't of Army, 119 F.3d
1313, 1318 (8th Cir. 1997) (quotation marks and citation
omitted). The district court, however, may not “reweigh
the evidence and set aside the jury verdict merely because
the jury could have drawn different inferences or conclusions
or because judges feel that other results are more
reasonable.” Id. (quotation marks and
citations omitted). And a party may not use a motion for a
new trial “to introduce new evidence, tender new legal
theories, or raise arguments that could have been offered or
raised prior to entry of judgment.” Parton v.
White, 203 F.3d 552, 556 (8th Cir. 2000).
can grant a new trial “on all or some of the issues,
” including damages. James v. Rasmussen, No.
C15-0062, 2016 WL 7422667, at *2 (N.D. Iowa Dec. 22, 2016). A
new trial on the issue of damages may be appropriate when a
court finds that “passion or prejudice”
influenced the jury's damage award. Tedder v. Am.
Railcar Indus., Inc., 739 F.3d 1104, 1110-11 (8th Cir.
inquiry is whether “a new trial is necessary to prevent
a miscarriage of justice.” Maxfield v. Cintas
Corp., No. 2, 563 F.3d 691, 694 (8th Cir. 2009). A
miscarriage of justice does not result whenever there are
inaccuracies or errors at trial; instead, the party seeking a
new trial must demonstrate that there was prejudicial error.
Acuity v. Johnson, 776 F.3d 588, 596 (8th Cir.
2015); First Nat'l Bank in Sioux Falls v. First
Nat'l Bank S.D., 679 F.3d 763, 768-69 (8th Cir.
2012); Buchholz v. Rockwell Int'l Corp., 120
F.3d 146, 148 (8th Cir. 1997).
requests a new trial or proceeding limited to the issue of
damages. First, he claims that defendant's witness,
Victoria Reinholdt, perpetrated a medical fraud on the Court,
by representing in medical records that she held a medical
license. [Doc. # 194]. These records were offered
as exhibits at trial. Id. Plaintiff claims that this
is “newly discovered evidence of fraud.”
Id. Plaintiff further argues that he was
“greatly prejudiced” by the alleged medical
record fraud because “[Reinholdt] severely downplay[ed]
the painfulness and symptoms of diabetic foot
neuropathy.” [Id. at 2]. Defendant Huff
counters that (1) plaintiff could have objected to the
exhibits or cross-examined Reinholdt, and (2) Reinholdt's
testimony did not prejudice plaintiff's case.
Court finds that these records did not prejudice the
jury's verdict. Even if several exhibits erroneously
indicated that Reinholdt was a physician, she testified that
she was a nurse practitioner. And if the jury believed that
she previously held a medical license, that information in
conjunction with her testimony “was not so prejudicial
that a new trial would necessarily produce a different
result.” Children's Broad. Corp. v. Walt Disney
Co., 357 F.3d 860, 867 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing
Wheeler v. Mo. Highway & Transp. Comm'n, 348
F.3d 744, 749 (8th Cir. 2003)). It was the jury's
responsibility to weigh the evidence in this case and assess
the credibility of all the witnesses to determine the extent
of plaintiff's injuries. Lincoln Composites, Inc. v.
Firetrace USA, LLC, 825 F.3d 453, 466 (8th Cir. 2016)
(holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion
in denying a new trial on damages). And the Court does not
believe there was a miscarriage of justice in the jury's
determination that there was no provable injury here. See
Corpus v. Bennett, 430 F.3d 912, 916 (8th Cir. 2005)
(reasoning that “nominal damages are the appropriate
means to vindicate constitutional rights whose deprivation
has not caused an actual, provable injury.” (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted)).
above reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
plaintiff's motion for a new trial [Doc. #188] is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's request for