From Casetext: Smarter Legal Research

Sauter v. Wasemiller

Supreme Court of Minnesota
Jun 27, 1986
389 N.W.2d 200 (Minn. 1986)

Summary

holding that evidentiary rulings not challenged as erroneous in a post-trial motion are not reviewable on appeal

Summary of this case from In re

Opinion

No. C8-84-773.

June 27, 1986.

Appeal from the District Court, Wilkin County, Keith C. Davison, J.

Robert Vogel, Grand Forks, N.D., for appellant.

Gunder Gunhus, Moorhead, for St. Francis Hosp.

Jane Heinley, Fargo, N.D., for Wasemiller.

Considered and decided by the court en banc without oral argument.


In the exercise of our supervisory powers, we granted the petition of Rhonda Sauter for further review to reconsider the issue of whether a party's failure to move for a new trial pursuant to Minn.R.Civ.P. 59.01 precludes appellate review of individual errors allegedly occurring at trial.

The underlying action was commenced against a physician and hospital for alleged negligence resulting in neurological damage to a baby during delivery. The jury returned a special verdict finding no negligence on the part of either defendant. The plaintiff, without moving for a new trial, appealed from the judgment assigning errors involving evidentiary rulings and jury instructions. The court of appeals held that alleged errors occurring at trial that are not challenged by a post-trial motion for a new trial are not reviewable on appeal. Sauter v. Wasemiller, 364 N.W.2d 833 (Minn.App. 1985). We affirm.

The scope of appellate review is defined by Minn.R.Civ.App.P. 103.04 which provides as follows:

The appellate courts may reverse, affirm or modify the judgment or order appealed from or take any other action as the interest of justice may require.

On appeal from or review of an order the appellate courts may review any order affecting the order from which the appeal is taken and on appeal from a judgment may review any order involving the merits or affecting the judgment. They may review any other matter as the interest of justice may require.

It has long been the general rule that matters such as trial procedure, evidentiary rulings and jury instructions are subject to appellate review only if there has been a motion for a new trial in which such matters have been assigned as error. Heise v. J.R. Clark Co., 245 Minn. 179, 191, 71 N.W.2d 818, 826 (1955). This general rule was not altered by the adoption of the broad language of Minn.R.Civ.App.P. 103.04.

However, as we noted in a decision filed simultaneously with that in Heise, "[O]ur decisions are not uniform as to what may be reviewed on appeal from a judgment where there has been no motion for a new trial * * *." LeMay v. Minneapolis Street Railway Co., 245 Minn. 192, 198, 71 N.W.2d 826, 830 (1955). In order to eliminate any confusion, we take this occasion to reaffirm the general rule.

In our view, the motion for a new trial provides both trial court and counsel with a unique opportunity to eliminate the need for appellate review or to more fully develop critical aspects of the record in the event appellate review is sought. Counsel is required to focus the trial court's attention on the specifics of an objection which, though properly framed during trial, might not have been fully explained or the impact of which might not have been understood during trial. The trial court is given time for reflection and the opportunity to consider the context in which the alleged error occurred and the effect it might have had upon the outcome of the litigation. In short, it is given the opportunity to correct its own errors without subjecting the parties and the appellate courts to the time, expense and inconvenience involved in an appeal.

We are cognizant of the assertions that the general rule is overly-technical, time-consuming and requires actions often duplicative of objections raised during trial. However, we conclude that, upon balance, the benefits of a more-considered decision by the trial court and more effective appellate review far outweigh those perceived burdens.

We therefore reaffirm the general rule that in order to preserve for appellate review issues arising during the course of trial, counsel — in addition to taking the other requisite steps, including making timely objection — must move the trial court for a new trial pursuant to Minn.R.Civ.App.P. 59.01.

Affirmed.


Summaries of

Sauter v. Wasemiller

Supreme Court of Minnesota
Jun 27, 1986
389 N.W.2d 200 (Minn. 1986)

holding that evidentiary rulings not challenged as erroneous in a post-trial motion are not reviewable on appeal

Summary of this case from In re

holding that evidentiary rulings not challenged as erroneous in a posttrial motion are not reviewable on appeal

Summary of this case from In Matter of Welfare of Child of M.P

holding that matters relating to trial procedure, evidentiary issues, and jury instructions are not reviewable when a motion for new trial has not been made

Summary of this case from Ponzo v. Affordable Homes of Rochester

holding that issue is only appealable if it is preserved in motion for new trial

Summary of this case from Signal Bank Nat. v. Kemnitz Sand Gravel

holding that a post-trial motion for a new trial raising errors allegedly occurring at trial is a prerequisite to appellate review of those errors

Summary of this case from GERR v. TEA

holding that jury instructions are subject to appellate review only if there has been a motion for a new trial in which such matters have been assigned as error

Summary of this case from JANESVILLE AUTO TR. v. FOREIGN DOM

ruling new-trial motion required to preserve for appellate review issues arising at trial

Summary of this case from PETERSON v. LENZ

ruling new-trial motion required to preserve for appellate review issues arising at trial

Summary of this case from Kaiser-Bauer v. Mullan

recognizing that evidentiary rulings are not preserved for appeal if party failed to raise them in motion for new trial

Summary of this case from Kovar v. Kovar

In Sauter, we reestablished our longstanding rule "that matters such as trial procedure, evidentiary rulings and jury instructions are subject to appellate review only if there has been a motion for a new trial in which such matters have been assigned as error."

Summary of this case from Alpha Real Estate Co. of Rochester v. Delta Dental Plan of Minn.

indicating that, generally, to preserve an evidentiary ruling for appeal, the party seeking review must make a motion for a new trial to the district court

Summary of this case from Twin Town Props., LLC v. Janavaras

stating that a post-trial motion raising individual errors allegedly occurring at trial is a prerequisite to appellate review of those errors

Summary of this case from Toyota-Lift of Minn., Inc. v. Am. Warehouse Sys., LLC

stating that a post-trial motion raising individual errors allegedly occurring at trial is a prerequisite to appellate review of those errors

Summary of this case from Toyota-Lift of Minnesota, Inc. v. American Warehouse Systems, LLC

reiterating the Gruenhagen rule in declining to review error assigned to jury instructions

Summary of this case from Moen v. Sunstone Hotel Props., Inc.

stating that the general rule is that "evidentiary rulings . . . are subject to appellate review only if there has been a motion for a new trial in which such matters have been assigned as error"

Summary of this case from Dakinah v. Sullivan

stating that matters such as trial procedure and evidentiary rulings must be assigned as error in a motion for a new trial in order for an appellate court to consider them

Summary of this case from BLAT v. TAKITA

stating that evidentiary rulings are subject to appellate review "only if" they are assigned as error in a new-trial motion

Summary of this case from In re Welfare of the Child of V.D

stating that a posttrial motion "is a prerequisite" to appellate review

Summary of this case from Vogel v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co.

stating that "matters such as trial procedure * * * are subject to appellate review only if there has been a motion for a new trial in which such matters have been assigned as error"

Summary of this case from Signal Bank Nat. v. Kemnitz Sand Gravel

stating that evidentiary rulings are subject to appellate review only if there has been a motion for a new trial in which such matters have been assigned as error

Summary of this case from In Matter of the Welfare of D.W

stating to preserve issues for review, party must make timely objections and move for new trial

Summary of this case from Miller v. Roberts
Case details for

Sauter v. Wasemiller

Case Details

Full title:Rhonda SAUTER, individually, as Personal Representative of the Estate of…

Court:Supreme Court of Minnesota

Date published: Jun 27, 1986

Citations

389 N.W.2d 200 (Minn. 1986)

Citing Cases

Cnty. of Hennepin v. Bhakta

The court of appeals held that, to preserve those rulings for appellate review, the Bhaktas were first…

Alpha Real Estate Co. of Rochester v. Delta Dental Plan of Minn.

In limiting the scope of review, the court of appeals reasoned that generally a motion for a new trial is a…