Special Verdict Law and Legal Definition
Special verdict is the decision of the jury on the factual issues submitted to them by the judge. The judge gives the jury a series of specific, written, factual questions. Based upon the jury's answers, or findings of fact, the judge will determine the verdict. Special verdicts are usually used in civil cases where complex and technical questions of fact are involved or where an explanation of law is required.
The following is an example of a Federal Statute on Special Verdicts:
USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 49
(1) In General. The court may require a jury to return only a special verdict in the form of a special written finding on each issue of fact. The court may do so by:
(A) submitting written questions susceptible of a categorical or other brief answer;
(B) submitting written forms of the special findings that might properly be made under the pleadings and evidence; or
(C) using any other method that the court considers appropriate.
(2) Instructions. The court must give the instructions and explanations necessary to enable the jury to make its findings on each submitted issue.
(3) Issues Not Submitted. A party waives the right to a jury trial on any issue of fact raised by the pleadings or evidence but not submitted to the jury unless, before the jury retires, the party demands its submission to the jury. If the party does not demand submission, the court may make a finding on the issue. If the court makes no finding, it is considered to have made a finding consistent with its judgment on the special verdict.
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