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Rhoades v. Alameida

May 19, 2010

GREGORY L. RHOADES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALAMEIDA ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anthony W. Ishii Chief United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING RENEWED MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW

(Document #138)

BACKGROUND

In this action, Plaintiff Gregory L. Rhoades ("Plaintiff") contended that Defendant Atkison ("Defendant") violated his First Amendment rights and the Due Process Clause when he destroyed Plaintiff's religious property. A jury trial in this action began on September 29, 2009. After the court denied Defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Rule 50(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, on September 30, 2009, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant on the First Amendment claim and in favor of Plaintiff on the Due Process Clause claim. The jury awarded Plaintiff $150.00 in damages on the Due Process Clause claim.

On October 9, 2009, Defendant timely filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Rule 50(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant contends that he is entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiff's Due Process Clause claim.

Plaintiff requested additional time in which to oppose Defendant's motion. On March 22, 2010, Plaintiff filed an opposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

The court may enter a judgment as a matter of law if there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for a party on an issue. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 provides in pertinent part:

(a) Judgment as a Matter of Law.

(1) In General. If a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue, the court may: (A) resolve the issue against the party; and

(B) grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against the party on a claim or defense that, under the controlling law, can be maintained or defeated only with a favorable finding on that issue.

(2) Motion. A motion for judgment as a matter of law may be made at any time before the case is submitted to the jury. The motion must specify the judgment sought and the law and facts that entitle the movant to the judgment.

(b) Renewing the Motion After Trial; Alternative Motion for a New Trial. If the court does not grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law made under Rule 50(a), the court is considered to have submitted the action to the jury subject to the court's later deciding the legal questions raised by the motion. No later than 28 days after the entry of judgment--or if the motion addresses a jury issue not decided by a verdict, no later than 28 days after the jury was discharged--the movant may file a renewed motion for judgment as a ...


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