2010 Wisconsin Code
Chapter 805. Civil procedure--trials.
805.14 Motions challenging sufficiency of evidence; motions after verdict.


805.14 Motions challenging sufficiency of evidence; motions after verdict.


(1) Test of sufficiency of evidence. No motion challenging the sufficiency of the evidence as a matter of law to support a verdict, or an answer in a verdict, shall be granted unless the court is satisfied that, considering all credible evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the party against whom the motion is made, there is no credible evidence to sustain a finding in favor of such party.


(2) Nonsuit abolished; misdesignation of motions.


(a) The involuntary nonsuit is abolished. If a motion for involuntary nonsuit is made, it shall be treated as a motion to dismiss.


(b) When a party mistakenly designates a motion to dismiss as a motion for directed verdict, or vice versa; or mistakenly designates a motion to change answer as a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or vice versa; or otherwise mistakenly designates a motion challenging the sufficiency of evidence as a matter of law, the court shall treat the motion as if there had been a proper designation.


(3) Motion at close of plaintiff's evidence. At the close of plaintiff's evidence in trials to the jury, any defendant may move for dismissal on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. If the court determines that the defendant is entitled to dismissal, the court shall state with particularity on the record or in its order of dismissal the grounds upon which the dismissal was granted and shall render judgment against the plaintiff.


(4) Motion at close of all evidence. In trials to the jury, at the close of all evidence, any party may challenge the sufficiency of the evidence as a matter of law by moving for directed verdict or dismissal or by moving the court to find as a matter of law upon any claim or defense or upon any element or ground thereof.


(5) Motions after verdict.


(a) Motion for judgment. A motion for judgment on the verdict is not required. If no motion after verdict is filed within the time period specified in s. 805.16, judgment shall be entered on the verdict at the expiration thereof. If a motion after verdict is timely filed, judgment on the verdict shall be entered upon denial of the motion.


(b) Motion for judgment notwithstanding verdict. A party against whom a verdict has been rendered may move the court for judgment notwithstanding the verdict in the event that the verdict is proper but, for reasons evident in the record which bear upon matters not included in the verdict, the movant should have judgment.


(c) Motion to change answer. Any party may move the court to change an answer in the verdict on the ground of insufficiency of the evidence to sustain the answer.


(d) Motion for directed verdict. A party who has made a motion for directed verdict or dismissal on which the court has not ruled pending return of the verdict may renew the motion after verdict. In the event the motion is granted, the court may enter judgment in accordance with the motion.


(e) Preliminary motions. It is not necessary to move for a directed verdict or dismissal prior to submission of the case to the jury in order to move subsequently for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or to change answer.


(f) Telephone hearings. Motions under this subsection may be heard as prescribed in s. 807.13.


(6) Grounds to be stated with particularity. In any motion challenging the sufficiency of evidence, the grounds of the motion shall be stated with particularity. Mere conclusory statements and statements lacking express reference to the specific element of claim or defense as to which the evidence is claimed to be deficient shall be deemed insufficient to entitle the movant to the order sought. If the court grants a motion challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, the court shall state on the record or in writing with particularity the evidentiary defect underlying the order.


(7) Effect of order of dismissal. Unless the court in its order for dismissal otherwise specifies for good cause recited in the order, any dismissal under this section operates as an adjudication upon the merits.


(8) Nonwaiver. A party who moves for dismissal or for a directed verdict at the close of the evidence offered by an opponent may offer evidence in the event that the motion is not granted without having reserved the right to do so and to the same extent as if the motion had not been made. A motion for a directed verdict which is not granted is not a waiver of trial by jury even though all parties to the action have moved for directed verdict.


(9) Involuntary dismissal of counterclaim, cross claim or 3rd-party claim. This section applies to counterclaims, cross claims, and 3rd-party claims.

805.14 - ANNOT.

History: Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 704 (1975); Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d vii (1975); 1975 c. 218; Sup. Ct. Order, 73 Wis. 2d xxxi (1986); Sup. Ct. Order, 118 Wis. 2d xiii (1984); Sup. Ct. Order, 141 Wis. 2d xiii (1987); 2005 a. 253; 2007 a. 97.

805.14 - ANNOT.

Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1976: Sub. (3) applies only to trials to the jury, codifying Household Utilities, Inc. v. Andrews Co., 71 Wis. 2nd 17 (1976). The standard for granting a motion under sub. (3) is found in sub. (1). Motions made by a defendant for dismissal after a plaintiff has completed presenting his evidence in trials to the court is governed by s. 805.17 (1). [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1977]

805.14 - ANNOT.

Judicial Council Note, 1984: Sub. (5) (a) is amended by eliminating the requirement for a motion before judgment is entered on a verdict. [Re Order effective July 1, 1984]

805.14 - ANNOT.

Judicial Council Note, 1988: Sub. (5) (f) [created] allows motions after verdict to be heard by telephone conference. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1988]

805.14 - ANNOT.

An inconsistent verdict, if not timely remedied by reconsideration by the jury, must result in a new trial unless the party injured by the inconsistency waives that portion of its damage claim and the waiver does not result in a change of the prevailing party as found by the jury. Westfall v. Kottke, 110 Wis. 2d 86, 328 N.W.2d 481 (1983).

805.14 - ANNOT.

If there is any credible evidence that, under any reasonable view, fairly admits of an inference that supports the jury's finding, the finding may not be overturned. GenStar v. Bankruptcy Estate of Lake Geneva Sugar Shack, 215 Wis. 2d 104, 572 N.W.2d 881 (Ct. App. 1997), 96-2156.

805.14 - ANNOT.

A party waives all claims of error not raised in motions after verdict although a timely objection was made at trial. This rule applies to an asserted jury instruction error objected to under s. 805.13 (3). Suchomel v. University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, 2005 WI App 234, 288 Wis. 2d 188, 708 N.W.2d 13, 04-0363.

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