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Suppose this is a tort case (my understanding is unlike a criminal case there is no double jeopardy in tort cases), where a plaintiff was suing a defendant for a lot of money in a tort.

A witness testifies that s/he was with the defendant at the critical time (true) and that the defendant was not at the scene of the tort and could not have committed it, and this testimony causes the defendant to go scot-free. After the trial, a police or other investigation establishes that the witness, and probably the defendant, was at the scene of the tort, meaning that the testimony was false.

What remedies are therein the United States? I would imagine that the witness could be prosecuted for perjury. My guess is that the plaintiff could prosecute the witness for the lost damages. Are there any other remedies like reopening the original trial or declaring a mistrial so that the plaintiff could sue the (deep-pocketed) defendant, or would this be double jeopardy?

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What remedies are therein the United States? I would imagine that the witness could be prosecuted for perjury. My guess is that the plaintiff could prosecute the witness for the lost damages. Are there any other remedies like reopening the original trial or declaring a mistrial so that the plaintiff could sue the (deep-pocketed) defendant, or would this be double jeopardy?

Perjury prosecutions are like unicorns. They are rumored to exist but are almost never seen. A prosecutor would be exceedingly unlikely to bring charges in such a case, but it might not hurt to ask. Even if the criminal prosecution prevailed, however, the defeated plaintiff would be no better off, or might get out of pocket court costs as restitution at most.

You could request that the witness be sanctioned for contempt. But, this leaves the loser in the original case no better off unless the judge made the highly unusual decision to award compensatory damages as a contempt sanction.

Similarly, if you have reason to believe that the attorney knew that the testimony offered was false, that would be grounds to grieve the lawyer which could result in the lawyer's suspension or disbarment, but that is very difficult to prove and again would not advance the unjustly defeated plaintiff's cause.

Assuming that the time to move for a retrial (usually two weeks) expired when the new evidence was discovered, you could move to set aside the verdict (Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60 or the equivalent state rule). The deadline for such motions based upon fraud by an adverse party is usually six months. Sometimes an independent action to set aside the verdict for fraud on the court could also be brought (sometimes within two or three years), which is an uphill battle, but probably the best option if all other deadlines have expired.

The witness probably has absolute immunity from civil liability outside that court case for the testimony offered, so a civil action suing the witness for lost damages would be dismissed.

The doctrine of double jeopardy does not apply, but a similar doctrine called "res judicata" (a.k.a. "claim preclusion") prohibits retrying a case that was tried on the merits between the same parties, if it has become a final order. So, filing a new case is ruled out assuming that no appeals were filed within the deadline for doing so. And, even if the deadline for filing an appeal has not lapsed, it probably wouldn't prevail because the key new evidence wouldn't be in the record. It would be better to file to set aside the judgment in a motion and to appeal if that motion was denied.

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What remedies are there if it was subsequently discovered that a witness lied at trial?

In theory, the recourse for newly discovered evidence which is non-cumulative and material to the judgment at issue is summarized in the other answer: File a motion for relief from judgment or order (or equivalent motion, depending on which court has jurisdiction of the case at that time). But in the real world, corrupt judges don't care about the law. They just do whatever they want.

This answer is based on my experience and the Michigan procedural law. My briefs in Michigan upper courts and in the U.S. supreme court provide legal and factual details, in case you are interested.

Michigan's equivalent of FRCP 60 is MCR 2.612(C)(1)(b)-(c) (relief from judgment that was obtained by fraud or because of newly discovered evidence). This motion typically would be filed in trial court, but sometimes (as happened in my case) the newly discovered evidence emerges when the matter is in the appellate queue. During that period, the trial court does not have jurisdiction on the case, MCR 7.208. The following excerpt, quoted in a COA's unrelated opinion, elucidates on the jurisdictional confusion that to this date the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) neglects to solve.

Dean & Longhofer, Michigan Court Rules Practice (4th ed), Author’s Commentary, § 2612.20, pp 487-488:

The effect of a pending appeal on the power of the trial court to grant relief under MCR 2.612(C), however, creates problems. MCR 7.208(A) provides that, after a claim of appeal is filed or leave to appeal granted, the trial court may not set aside or amend the judgment or order appealed from except by order of the court of appeals, by stipulation of the parties, or otherwise provided by law. Yet the time for filing a motion seeking relief from the judgment continues to run while the case is pending on appeal. This leads to undesirable complications, either requiring a party seeking relief from judgment to present its grounds first to the appellate court, which may then remand the case to the trial court if the grounds are well taken, or requiring the motion to be filed in the trial court while the appeal is pending although the court cannot act upon it until the case is remanded. Under the latter approach, the trial court could indicate its intention to grant the motion upon remand, and a remand could then be obtained from the appellate court under MCR 7.211(C).

Regardless of the MSC's negligence, MCR 7.216(A)(4) and (5) prescribe the possibility for the Michigan appellate court to "permit [...] additions to the transcript or record" and to "remand the case to allow additional evidence to be taken", respectively.

The newly discovered evidence emerged while my case was in the appellate queue. I had been pursuing that evidence during discovery in trial court, but judge Carol Kuhnke (the felon who later in November of 2016 got busted for illegal possession of narcotics, excerpts police report available here) systematically ruled to prevent me from obtaining this and other evidence.

Once the newly discovered evidence emerged, I proceeded as outlined by Dean & Longhofer. I even followed the sequence indicated there:

  • I filed in the appellate court a motion under MCR 7.216(A). The MCOA denied this motion and the one for reconsideration (the MCOA never substantiates why it denies motions), even though I cited cases where the MCOA has granted motions pursuant to that court rule.
  • Then I filed in trial court a motion under MCR 2.612. For obvious jurisdictional reasons, I clearly asked felon Carol Kuhnke to refrain from deciding my motion while the appeal was pending. I emphasized that Michigan Court Rules only set a deadline for filing the motion, although not for a ruling on one such motion. Thus, whereas I met the deadline, a judge has no legitimate reasons to enter a premature ruling.
  • Felon Carol Kuhnke didn't care about my clear and conspicuous indications. She rushed to deny my motion about two weeks after the media publicized her drug-related crime. Her pretext for her premature denial of my motion was "lack of jurisdiction", precisely the reason why I asked this criminal to wait till jurisdiction returns to the trial court so that a hearing can be scheduled.

Subsequently, I asked the Michigan Supreme Court (in my Application for Leave to Appeal) to solve the unsolved discrepancy and redress its detrimental effect on my case. The MSC inexplicably and single-handedly denied my Application.

Pending what the U.S. Supreme Court will do about the case, the handful of Michigan judges involved in this matter have been blatantly ignoring what Michigan Court Rules dictate on matters of newly discovered evidence. This is one of many situations where a legal recourse exists but the corrupt judiciary lacks the integrity to enforce it.

The myth of ascertainment of the truth is a fraud committed by our charlatan judiciary. I cannot imagine the indignation that victims of worse crimes/offenses must experience when they see their inept judges granting impunity to offenders and their accomplices even where new evidence is discovered.

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    An answer to a general question is not the appropriate place to rant about injustice in a particular case with idiosyncratic facts. There is nothing wrong with using insight from that experience to inform an answer, but a full on rant against "our charlatan judiciary" is not helpful. Also the question is narrowly targeted at judgments in civil cases, while this answer somewhat blurs the line in a few points to criminal cases for which the grounds for setting aside judgment for new evidence are different and have constitutional dimensions as well. – ohwilleke Jul 19 '18 at 20:34
  • @ohwilleke (1) I shouldn't be expected to sugarcoat the verifiable (rather than "idiosyncratic") fact that there are procedural laws which judges repeatedly and blatantly violate, nor when the top court of a jurisdiction refuses to redress --despite being properly brought to its attention-- the harmful inconsistencies of the procedural laws it establishes. (2) My case and the one citing Dean & Longhofer (as well as the court rules at issue) are civil cases, not criminal ones, so --with due respect-- there's no blurring as your comment mistakenly purports. – Iñaki Viggers Jul 19 '18 at 21:09
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    One place that the blurring occurs is in the final sentence: "I cannot imagine the indignation that victims of worse crimes/offenses must experience when they see their inept judges granting impunity to offenders and their accomplices even where new evidence is discovered." This is language usually not used to refer to torts and only instead used to refer to crimes. The "idiosyncratic" part of the fact pattern is that the judge is a felon. – ohwilleke Jul 19 '18 at 21:11
  • @ohwilleke My answer has much more than the final sentence. It provides links to court records so that the audience can verify by itself that what some judges do is oftentimes the exact opposite of what the law dictates. Don't be nitpicky about the word "offense", because "it may also include the violation of a criminal statute for which the remedy is merely a civil suit to recover the penalty", Commonwealth v. Brown, 264 Pa. 85; 107 A.676, 678 (quoted in Black's Law Dictionary, 4th edition, at the definition of offense). My defamation case is one such instance (Michigan MCL 750.370). – Iñaki Viggers Jul 19 '18 at 21:25

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