Thursday, April 27, 2023

Zero Verdict For Pain and Suffering Damages Upheld

In the case of Wilson v. Hannigan, Aug. Term, 2022, No. 00196 (C.P. Phila. Co. Nov. 22, 2022 Alan, J.), the trial court issued a Rule 1925 Opinion following a slip and fall case in which a jury found the parties to be equally liable and in which the jury granted the Plaintiff an economic damages award but no pain and suffering award.

The Court noted that, the Plaintiff was not able to advise the jury was to what caused her to fall on a sidewalk.  

Also, the medical evidence appeared to confirm that the Plaintiff may have sustained an ankle sprain for which she had minimal and conservative treatment.  The trial court judge also noted in his Opinion that, although the Plaintiff testified to the jury that she had walked with a limp at times, the jury was able to watch the Plaintiff walk to and from the witness stand.    

In requesting the Pennsylvania Superior Court to affirm its decision denying the Plaintiff’s Motion for a New Trial, the trial court found that the evidence was sufficient for the jury to decline to award the Plaintiff non-economic damages where the Plaintiff’s subjective complaints were inconsistent with the objective medical evidence presented.

The court also found that the Plaintiff’s treatment was excessive in relationship to the alleged severity of the injury.  The Plaintiff was also noted to have been non-compliant with her doctor's treatment recommendations.

The trial court also faulted the Plaintiff with respect to the number of issues raised on appeal in the Plaintiff’s Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal.  Given that the Plaintiff's Concise Statement was not concise, the trial court requested that the Superior Court find that the Plaintiff's alleged errors be deemed waived under Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b)(4)(vii).

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (March 14, 2023).

For review Tort Talk posts on Zero Verdict cases, as well as an article entitled "Litigating the Zero Verdict" by Daniel E. Cummins and Stephen T. Kopko, please click this LINK.

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