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Mayoral v. Vuichard

April 17, 2006

JOEL MAYORAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
REJEAN VUICHARD, KAREN MCKINNEY, AND PATRICIA WILSON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

A. Introduction

In May 2003, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois transferred the above-captioned prisoner civil rights action to the Southern District of Illinois. In this suit filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, inmate Joel Mayoral alleged that Defendants (various officials employed by the Illinois Department of Corrections) were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The case proceeded to a four-day jury trial before the undersigned Judge, beginning on January 30, 2006. On February 2, 2006, the jury returned verdicts in favor of all three Defendants -- Vuichard, McKinney, and Wilson.*fn1 On February 2006, Plaintiff Mayoral moved for a new trial.

For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES that motion (Doc. 188).

B. Analysis

Mayoral tenders four grounds to support his request for a new trial. First, he maintains that the verdicts were against the weight of the evidence. Second, he asserts that the Northern District of Illinois, before transferring the case to this District, erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant Mesrobian. Third, Mayoral assigns error to the giving of Court's Instruction 6. Finally, Mayoral contends that the Court erred in failing to give Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instruction 33.

FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 59(a) provides that in any action where there has been a jury trial, a new trial may be granted "for any of the reasons for which new trials have heretofore been granted in actions at law in the courts of the United States." That language has been interpreted to mean that a district court may grant a new trial only if the jury's verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence, or a new trial is necessary to prevent a miscarriage of justice. See Romero v. Cincinnati, Inc., 171 F.3d 1091, 1096 (7th Cir. 1999); Lonsdorf v. Seefeldt, 47 F.3d 893, 897 (7th Cir. 1995); Sokol Crystal Products, Inc. v. DSC Communications Corp., 15 F.3d 1427, 1432 (7th Cir. 1994).

The law of this Circuit holds:

A new trial may be granted only if the verdict is against the clear weight of the evidence.... "[W]e will not set aside a jury verdict if a reasonable basis exists in the record to support that verdict...." The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the prevailing party and issues of credibility and weight of evidence are within the purview of the jury.

Carter v. Chicago Police Officers, 165 F.3d 1071, 1079 (7th Cir. 1998)(emphasis added). Accord Cefalu v. Village of Elk Grove, 211 F.3d 416, 424 (7th Cir. 2000).

Here, the jury's verdicts were not contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.

Nor is the record is devoid of a reasonable basis to support the verdicts.

At trial, Mayoral claimed that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by their deliberate indifference to his serious medical condition. Specifically, Mayoral -- who was confined to a wheelchair -- had a fractured left wrist. He argues that a "broken hand is obviously a serious medical need," and "it took over three years" for Defendants to send Mayoral for surgery (Doc. 189, pp. 2-3). These facts (that Mayoral had a broken wrist and that he did not immediately get ...


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