What is the test for a jury to find a plaintiff liable for damages?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from Murphy v. Wilson, 141 Cal.App.2d 538, 297 P.2d 22 (Cal. App. 1956):

It was appropriately said in Reay v. Beasley, 49 Ariz. 362, 66 P.2d 1043, at page 1044: 'It is not enough that the issues of liability and damages may be separable. It should be quite clear that it will not give the one seeking the new trial of the issue of damages only an unjust and unfair advantage over his adversary. It would seem that when a verdict is for nominal damages when the admitted facts show that damages should be substantial if there is any liability, and when such verdict is by nine of the twelve jurors, three refusing to join in it, justice and fairness would require the retrial to be of the whole case. * * * Just why the nine jurors joined in such a verdict we do not know. * * * The jurors must have entertained very serious doubts as to how the case should be decided, and this doubt presumably extended to both liability and the amount of damages.'

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