Once the jury has reached a verdict, the court generally enters a judgment making the jury’s verdict the order of the court. In some instances, the court may determined that one of the parties is entitled to a directed verdict and will not allow the jury to make a decision at all. In other situations, the court may determine that no reasonable jury could have reached the verdict that the jury renders and may enter a judgment in favor of one of the parties notwithstanding the verdict. There are specific and complex rules that govern the entry of judgments and the procedures for challenging those judgments and the failure to take necessary actions in a timely manner may prejudice the rights of the parties. Since a judgment is the determination by the court of substantial rights of the parties, it is important that parties understand the significance and the potential effects that various types of judgments have.
1. Equitable Relief. Courts have the power to prohibit parties from taking certain actions or to require them to do certain things. Judgments for injunctive relief are judgments by the court that generally prohibit the doing of something by one of the parties. Judgments for declaratory or other relief represent the court’s determination of certain matters based on the evidence presented to it.
2. Judgments for Money Damages. Courts have the power to grant monetary relief to parties based on the evidence presented. These judgments require one party to pay money to the other as compensation for the harm suffered as determined from the evidence.
3. Judgments in Criminal Matters. In criminal matters, courts have the power to imposed fines or to restrain personal freedom and liberties as punishment for crimes which the accused has been found to have committed. These judgments may include jail time, restitution and prohibitions on certain types of activities.