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