The verdict is in; the jury found Derrick Rose and co-defendants not liable for civil sexual battery and trespassing.
What are Jane Doe’s options moving forward?
Doe has the right to appeal the verdict, but first, her lawyers are likely to file one or more of the following post-verdict motions:
- Doe may renew her request (she requested earlier after the close of evidence and it was denied) for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, arguing that no reasonable jury could reach the verdict that it did. If the judge agrees, he could order a new trial or direct the jury to find in favor or Doe.
- Doe has 28 days to file a motion requesting a new trial. Doe cannot request a new trial just because she was not satisfied with the result, she must allege that an error occurred during the course of proceedings that impacted or biased the outcome of the trial. Frequent grounds in motions for mistrial include alleging that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence, conduct of counsel tainted the case, or substantial error occurred by admitted/rejecting evidence. Thus, Doe might argue that Rose’s lawyer’s brazen tactics, which were reprimanded by the Judge on several occasions, tainted the case, or that the judge’s evidentiary rulings, such as allowing Doe’s ex-friend Gabriella Chavez friend to testify that Doe was a “pathological liar”, were incorrect and materially impacted the verdict.
- Doe can request a relief from judgment. Such requests are only granted in exceptional circumstances when it is “inequitable to permit a judgment to stand.” Such circumstances include mistake (including “errors of law” by the judge usually reserved for appellate courts), newly discovered evidence, and fraud or misrepresentation by an opposing party.
Post-verdict motions are rarely granted and would require the judge to believe that a major injustice occurred during trial.
Appeal: If the trial judge denies all of the post-verdict motions, Doe then has 30 days to file a notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appeal process will likely not include new evidence or witnesses. Rather, Doe will argue that the trial court judge made a procedural error (e.g., improperly admitting or denying evidence) or made an error interpreting the law. The appellate court will consist of three judges who will judge the appeal based on the parties’ briefs and, at times, oral argument.
Given that Doe’s attorneys may be working on a contingent basis (they only get paid if she wins), there is no guarantee that she will proceed with an appeal. Federal appeals typically take eight to twelve months from filing to resolution, meaning that we may not have a final decision until late 2017 or early 2018.