Williams v. Williams, 2009 Ohio App. LEXIS 5159 (Nov. 18, 2009)

Where appellant argues that the weight of the evidence requires a new trial, an appellate court cannot address appellant's arguments without resorting to complete relevant portions of the transcript of the trial proceedings.

This action arises out of a motor vehicle accident where the defendant-driver's vehicle slid into the back of the victim's vehicle at an intersection. The parties stipulated that the driver's negligence caused the accident. The jury returned a verdict with no damages on the issues of proximate cause and damages. The trial court found that the verdict was not against the weight of the evidence due to the conflicting evidence that was apparently presented. On appeal, the appellate court found that the transcript was incomplete under Ohio Appellate Rule 9 because the weight of the evidence arguments presented by the victim were based upon even the non-testimonial portions of the trial such as jury instructions, closing argument, and presentation of the verdict forms. Ohio Appellate Rule 9(A) states that "a weight of the evidence argument requires the appellant to order a transcript of all evidence relevant to the finding or conclusion said to be contrary to the weight of the evidence." Since the appellant argues as to the weight of the evidence, the appellant should have filed an affidavit that the non-transcribed portions of the transcripts "were merely procedural portions that contained no factual matters." As a result, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's ruling "[b]ecause appellant's argument (that the weight of the evidence requires a new trial) cannot be addressed without resort to the transcript of proceedings before the jury[.]"

Case Law Alert - 1st Qtr 2010