In a civil case in which the jury decides an award for the plaintiff, under what circumstances and with what limits can a judge reduce this award?

Does this implicate either the 6th or 7th Amendments?


3 Answers 3


Judicial review of the size of punitive damages is a "well-established common-law protection against arbitrary and inaccurate adjudication" and without it, the defendant is deprived of Due Process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Honda Motor Co. v. Oberg 512 U.S. 415 (1994).

While the Seventh Amendment protects your right to a jury trial in civil matters, the Constitution also protects the defendant against excessive awards under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.


If the judge believes the award is too high or too low, the judge can use additur or remittitur to reduce the damages.

These are essentially offers to both parties to agree to the change in damages. If both parties do not agree, the court can order a new trial.


A party can make a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) if they've previously moved for a judgment as a matter of law. A JNOV can result in a trial judge overturning a jury's verdict. In addition, a jury's verdict can be overturned on appeal for a variety of reasons.

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