Directed Verdict

Directed Verdict in the United States

Decision by a jury made under binding instruction from the trial judge. A directed verdict reflects the failure of a party to present enough evidence to win a lawsuit. A directed verdict is sought on motion by a party to a civil action. The motion asserts that one party must win because the other party has failed to establish either a prima facie case or establish a particular defense. If the judge grants the motion, the jury is not allowed to actually deliberate the matter. Rather, the judge instructs the jury that there is only one possible verdict as a matter of law. The jury is bound by this instruction. In a criminal case, the defendant can seek a directed verdict of acquittal. The defendant’s right tojury adjudication of guilt prohibits a directed verdict for conviction.

See Also

Demurrer (Civil Process) Dissmiss (Civil Process) Summary Judgment (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

Motions for a directed verdict are seldom successful because they are both preemptive and conclusive. That is, they end a case by removing the issues from a jury’s consideration. Granting a motion for a directed verdict is essentially the same as granting a motion to dismiss a case before the trial begins. The only difference is when in the process the case is terminated. In the instance of the directed verdict, the case concludes during trial, most often at the point the plaintiff has rested his or her case.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Directed Verdict from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

A verdict returned by the jury at the discretion of the trial judge. In civil actions, either party may receive a directed verdict. In criminal actions, there can be a directed verdict of acquittal, but not a directed verdict of guilty.

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Directed Verdict?

For a meaning of it, read Directed Verdict in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Directed Verdict.

The Judge and the Jury: Judgment as a Matter of Law (Directed Verdict)

There is some information in the United States Procedure Law section of this American Legal Encyclopedia about The Judge and the Jury: Judgment as a Matter of Law (Directed Verdict). For a wide overview, read about Steps in the Litigation Process

Meaning of Directed Verdict

In plain or simple terms, Directed Verdict means: In civil cases in which there is insufficient basis for any other conclusion, the judge may direct the jury to render a specific verdict. Criminal defendants may also ask the court to rule in their favor rather than submitting the case to the jury.

Directed Verdict: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

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Federal primary materials about Directed Verdict by content types:

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Presidential Materials

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State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Directed Verdict and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Directed Verdict. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Directed Verdict should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Directed Verdict when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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