Washington Law Review


At the 1949 Conference of Federal Judges of the Ninth Circuit I discussed the special verdict, and my address was published in the Washington Law Review. My treatment of the subject necessarily was largely theoretical as I had made very little use of the special verdict practice up to that time. Drawing upon abundant published material,I assembled and summarized the common criticisms of the general verdict and the claimed advantages of the special verdict, and expressed the conclusion that the latter, as prescribed in Rule 49 of the Federal Civil Rules, was entitled to much more extensive use. Having sold myself on that proposition, it was inevitable that I should try it out in practice. I shall now endeavor to give the bench and bar a candid account of the results of my experiment. Before doing so, however, I think it would be helpful to discuss briefly the defects of the general verdict which it is so often said the special verdict should remedy or at least minimize.

First Page