(a) Special Verdict.
(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.
(b) General Verdict With Answers to Written Questions.
(1) In General. The court may submit to the jury forms for a general verdict, together with written questions on one or more issues of fact that the jury must decide. The court must give the instructions and explanations necessary to enable the jury to render a general verdict and answer the questions in writing, and must direct the jury to do both.
(2) Verdict and Answers Consistent. When the general verdict and the answers are consistent, the court must approve an appropriate judgment on the verdict and answers.
(3) Answers Inconsistent with the Verdict. When the answers are consistent with each other but one or more is inconsistent with the general verdict, the court may:(A) approve, for entry under Rule 58, an appropriate judgment according to the answers, notwithstanding the general verdict;(B) direct the jury to further consider its answers and verdict; or(C) order a new trial.
(c) Answers Inconsistent with Each Other and the Verdict. When the answers are inconsistent with each other and one or more is also inconsistent with the verdict, judgment must not be entered; instead, the court must direct the jury to further consider its answers and verdict, or must order a new trial.
Rule 49 was amended, effective March 1, 1990; March 1, 2011.
Rule 49 is is derived from Fed.R.Civ.P. 49.
Subdivision (a) was amended, effective March 1, 1990. The amendment is technical in nature and no substantive change is intended.
Rule 49 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of September 24-25, 2009, pages 19-20; April 20, 1989, page 2; December 3, 1987, page 11; November 29-30, 1979, page 13; Fed.R.Civ.P. 49.