Monday, March 29, 2021

Post-Trial Motions Denied in Lackawanna County Fatal Boating Accident Case

In the case of Loomis v. Bomba, No. 18-CV-930 (C.P. Lacka. Co. March 12, 2021 Nealon, J.), the court addressed a number of post-trial motions filed by a Plaintiff after a defense verdict was entered in a boating fatality litigation.

In the end, after review of the record before it, the court noted that, as the ultimate triers of fact and the judges of credibility, the jury was free to accept or reject the witnesses presented.  The jury’s verdict was found to be not so contrary to the evidence as to shock one’s sense of justice.

With regards to the Plaintiff’s objection that the investigating State Trooper allegedly violated the hearsay rule by referring to a statement that he obtained from a non-testifying witness, the court found that the Trooper’s reference to this statement was permitted to explain his course of conduct in the investigation, rather than any admission of hearsay statement for the truth of the matter asserted. The judge additionally emphasized that he had provided the jury with a cautionary instruction advising the jury that the statement could only be considered for the limited purpose for which it was admitted.

Judge Nealon also rejected any contention by the Plaintiff that his jury instructions were deficient in the court’s failure to charge the jury based upon certain information from a handbook published by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The court noted that the jury was provided by appropriate instructions regarding a boat operator’s duties of care under the Fish and Boat Code as well as under the regulations promulgated by the Fish and Boat Commission. Judge Nealon otherwise noted that the jury instruction charged, as a whole, was not inadequate, unclear, misleading, or confusion. He also noted that the instructions did not omit any basic or fundamental principals of law.

Anyone wishing to review this Opinion may click this LINK.

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