PA Superior Court Indicates that Filing a Motion for Compulsory Non-Suit Alone May Preserve the Right to Request JNOV After Trial

Pennsylvania lawyers must be alert to situations in which they may waive their appellate rights, especially where the requirements for preserving those rights are murky. One of those murky areas in the Pennsylvania state courts involves a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) if the plaintiff prevails at trial.

Is filing a motion for a compulsory non-suit at the end of the plaintiff’s case sufficient to preserve such a claim, or must the defendant file a motion for a directed verdict at the close of all the evidence, as is required in federal court? In a recent opinion, a panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the right to seek JNOV was preserved by the filing of a motion for compulsory non-suit, even though the defendant apparently did not move for a directed verdict. Youst v. Keck’s Food Service, Inc., 2014 PA Super 121 (June 11, 2014).

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