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Civil Practice and Procedure

Jeremy M. Suhr, Esquire 

Denial of motion for new trial based on alleged intentional nondisclosures by a juror affirmed, holding that only topics specified in the new trial motion were preserved for review, even if the hearing on the motion addressed an additional alleged nondisclosure. Shields v. Freightliner of Joplin, Inc., No. 29515 (Mo. App. S.D., February 28, 2011), Bates, J.
After a jury verdict in favor of defendant Freightliner, plaintiffs filed a motion for new trial based on alleged intentional nondisclosure by a juror relating to two specific topics. At the hearing on their motion, plaintiffs raised a third topic of alleged intentional nondisclosure by the juror. Before filing the motion, however, plaintiffs had a transcript of voir dire questions and did not include this topic in the motion.
Held:  Because plaintiffs' motion for new trial did not raise the third allegation of juror nondisclosure, the court of appeals held that it "is not preserved for appellate review" and "that the issue was raised at the hearing on the new trial motion does not change our analysis."  Opinion at 16. Accordingly, the court of appeals "decline[d] to consider it."  Id. As to the first two alleged nondisclosures, the court of appeals held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the nondisclosures were unintentional, particularly in light of the "vague and ambiguous question" asked during voir dire by plaintiffs and in light of the trial court's finding that the juror's testimony at the hearing was credible. Id. at 12.

The Missouri Bar Courts Bulletin, 11-Apr