Product Liability Plaintiff Loses “Weight of the Evidence” Challenge on Appeal

When a party receives an unfavorable verdict after a trial, they are able to file an appeal arguing that any number of objectionable issues at trial deprived them of a fair hearing. Most decisions a trial judge makes during a trial, such as evidentiary rulings, jury instructions, and decisions on pre-trial motions, are reviewable by a higher court. A losing party may also appeal to a higher court on the basis that the jury found against the weight of the evidence, meaning that the jury came to the wrong conclusion given the evidence presented.

Bike WheelA weight-of-the-evidence challenge is a difficult one to win, since an appellate court is often hesitant to replace its own judgment for that of the trial judge or jury because they were the ones to hear the witnesses testify. A recent case in front of a Michigan appellate court shows the difficulty one plaintiff had with her weight-of-the-evidence appeal.

Applebaum v. Target Corporation:  The Facts of the Case

Applebaum wanted to buy a bicycle from Target. The accounts at trial varied, but there was some testimony that Target did not have the specific bike she wanted “brand new,” but there was one that had been returned by another customer because the brakes were defective. Applebaum testified that she accepted the bike after an unnamed Target employee told her that it had been repaired.

On her first ride, Applebaum fell off the bike, injuring her shoulder. A passerby came to her assistance and showed her that the rear brake had clamped down on the tire. He helped her pry it free so that it could be rolled back to her home. Applebaum took the bike back to Target and filed an internal claim with the company. Target had no record of the bike being repaired and denied her claim. Applebaum then filed a product liability lawsuit against Target, claiming it sold her a defective bike.

At trial, Target reiterated its position that it had no record of the bike ever being repaired. Applebaum’s evidence consisted mostly of her own testimony and indicated the contrary. After a jury trial, a defense verdict was entered. Applebaum appealed, arguing that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence.

The court upheld the jury’s verdict, noting that it is only in rare circumstances that an appellate court will find a jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The court explained that, while there was enough evidence for the jury to rule in Applebaum’s favor, it was also free not to believe her testimony or to find that the testimony Target presented was more credible. Thus, there was no reason for the court to substitute its own judgment for that of the jury.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Bicycle Accident?

Bicycle accidents have a number of potential causes. In some cases, a manufacturer or retailer sells a bike that is not fit for the road, due to some defect. In such cases, an injured rider may be entitled to monetary compensation for any injuries they sustained. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland bicycle accident, consider calling the skilled personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC at 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation. With their experience on your side, you will be in a great position to seek the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Accident Victims May Still Recover Damages Even if Law Enforcement Does Not Issue a Citation after a Crash, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 4, 2016.

Roughly Half of All Motorcycle Accidents Occur at Intersections, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 18, 2016.

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