This discussion will cover only subdivision (a) of Rule 49 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but I feel that I should briefly distinguish it from subdivision (b), the other subdivision of the rule, since the cases reveal a surprising amount of confusion regarding them. Subdivision (a) provides that the court may require the jury to return only a special verdict in the form of special findings on each issue of fact formulated by the pleadings and the evidence. The special verdict may be in the form of either written findings or written questions, susceptible of categorical or other brief answer, covering the factual issues. In any case, it is purely a fact verdict. The jury finds the basic facts and the court then arrives at appropriate conclusions of law and enters judgment accordingly. No general verdict is submitted to the jury with a special verdict.
Samuel A. Driver,
A Consideration of the More Extended Use of the Special Verdict,
25 Wash. L. Rev. & St. B.J.
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