(a) New Trial-Defined. A new trial is a re-examination of an issue of fact in the same court, after a trial and decision by a jury, court, or referee.
(b) Grounds for New Trial. The court may, on motion of an aggrieved party, vacate the former verdict or decision and grant a new trial on any of the following grounds materially affecting the substantial rights of the party:
(1) irregularity in the proceedings of the court, jury, or adverse party, or any court order or abuse of discretion that prevented a party from having a fair trial;
(2) jury misconduct, and if a juror has been induced to assent to any general or special verdict or to a finding on any question submitted to the jurors arrived at by chance, the misconduct may be proven by a juror's declaration;
(3) accident or surprise that ordinary prudence could not have guarded against;
(4) newly discovered evidence material to the moving party, which could not, with reasonable diligence, have been discovered and produced at the trial;
(5) excessive damages appearing to have been awarded under the influence of passion or prejudice, but when a new trial is requested on this ground and it appears that the passion or prejudice affected only the amount of damages awarded and did not influence the jury's findings on other issues in the case, the district court, on hearing the motion, and the supreme court, on appeal, may order a reduction of the verdict instead of a new trial or order that a new trial be had unless the prevailing party remits the excess damages;
(6) insufficient evidence to justify the verdict or other decision, or that the verdict is against the law;
(7) errors in law occurring at trial and, when required, objected to by the moving party; or
(8) if the aggrieved party, through no fault or negligence of that party, is unable to obtain a correct and complete transcript of the testimony and instructions given and proceedings had at trial.
(c) Time to File a Motion for a New Trial. A motion for a new trial must be served and filed no later than the following time after notice of entry of judgment:
(1) on the ground of newly discovered evidence, within six months; and
(2) on any other ground, within 60 days, unless the court, for good cause shown, extends the time.
(d) On What Motion for New Trial Made. A motion for a new trial may be made on the files, exhibits, and minutes of the court. Relevant facts not in the minutes may be shown by declaration. Either party may obtain a complete or partial transcript of the proceedings for use on the hearing of the motion.
(e) [RESERVED FOR FUTURE USE].
(f) Memorandum of Decision on Motion for New Trial. With all orders granting or denying a new trial, the court must file a written memorandum concisely stating the different grounds on which the ruling is based. Unless the insufficiency or unsatisfactory nature of the evidence is expressly stated in the memorandum as a reason for granting the new trial, it must be presumed, on appeal, that it was not on that ground.
(g) Jury Verdict Vacated by Court. The court in which the action is pending, on its own motion, may vacate the jury's verdict and grant a new trial if the jury has plainly disregarded the court's instructions or the evidence in the case is such that it convinces the court the verdict was rendered under a misapprehension of the instructions or under the influence of passion or prejudice.
(h) On Trial to the Court. In granting a new trial in an action tried without a jury, the court, without vacating the entered judgment, may limit the trial to one or more issues or take additional testimony on one or more issues and must confirm or amend the findings of fact and conclusions of law or make new findings and conclusions. If a judgment has been entered, the court may vacate it and enter a new judgment or may amend it to conform to the findings of fact and conclusions of law finally made by the court.
(i) New Trial on the Court's Initiative or for Reasons Not in the Motion. No later than 28 days after notice of entry of judgment, the court, on its own, may order a new trial for any reason that would justify granting one on a party's motion. After giving the parties notice and an opportunity to be heard, the court may grant a timely motion for a new trial for a reason not stated in the motion. In either event, the court must specify the reasons in its order.
(j) Motion to Alter or Amend a Judgment. A motion to alter or amend a judgment must be served and filed no later than 28 days after notice of entry of the judgment.
Subdivision (e) was repealed, effective March 1, 1997.
Subdivision (i) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to increase the time for a court to order a new trial on its own from 15 to 28 days after notice of entry of judgment.
Subdivision (j) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to increase the time to file a motion to alter or amend a judgment from 15 to 28 days after notice of entry of judgment.
Rule 59 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.
Rule 59 was amended, effective March 1, 2021, to delete the term “affidavit” and replace it with “declaration.” This amendment was made in response to N.D.C.C. ch. 31-15, which allows anyone to make an unsworn declaration that has the same effect as a sworn declaration, such as an affidavit. N.D.C.C. § 31-15-05 provides the required form for an unsworn declaration.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of January 30, 2020, page 25; April 29-30, 2010, pages 15-16; January 28-29, 2010, pages 10-11; January 30, 1997, page 8; September 26-27, 1996, pages 10-12; April 25, 1996, pages 18-19; January 25-26, 1996, page 19; September 30-October 1, 1982, page 6, and pages 8-10; April 15-16, 1982, page 8; January 17-18, 1980, page 4;November 29-30, 1979, page 18; May 25-26, 1978, pages 29-31; January 12-13, 1978, pages 12-14; June 2-3, 1977, page 5. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59; Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.02.
SUPERSEDED: N.D.C.C. §§ 28-18-06, 28-18-09, 28-27-27.
CONSIDERED: N.D.C.C. ch. 31-15.
CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 11. (Signing of Pleadings, Motions and Other Papers; Representations to Court; Sanctions), N.D.R.Civ.P. 50 (Motion for a Directed Verdict), N.D.R.Civ.P. 52 (Findings by the Court), N.D.R.Civ.P. 60 (Relief from Judgment or Order), N.D.R.Civ.P. 61 (Harmless Error)and N.D.R.Civ.P. 62 (Stay of Proceedings to Enforce a Judgment); N.D.R.Ev. 606 (Competency of Juror as Witness).