Thursday, May 25, 2023

New Trial Granted After Jury Awarded Zero Damages

In the case of Giko v. Calgiano, No. 1262 EDA 2022 (Pa. Super. March 29, 2023 Lazarus, J., Nichols, J., and McCaffery, J.) (Op. by Lazarus, J.) [non-precedential], the Pennsylvania Superior Court concluded that a jury’s award of $0 damages was against the weight of the evidence and, as such, the appellate court remanded the case for a new trial limited to damages.

According to the Opinion, this case arose out of a rear-end motor vehicle accident.

At trial, the jury found that the Plaintiff had sustained injuries in the accident and that the Defendant was 75% liable. However, the jury awarded $0 in damages.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff declined treatment at the scene and proceeded to work. Later that day, however, the Plaintiff’s supervisor suggested that the Plaintiff leave work early and get treatment for complaints of neck and back pain.

The Plaintiff reported to an Urgent Care Center and was prescribed medication and advised to use ice and heat. Shortly thereafter, the Plaintiff began a course of physical therapy.

The Plaintiff also eventually underwent bilateral sacroiliac joint injections. She additionally had EMG and MRI testing for complaints of neck and back pain. The Plaintiff’s overall medical bills were noted to be in excess of $26,000.00.

Based upon the evidence in the record, the Superior Courtfound that the jury’s finding that the Plaintiff’s harm was not compensable was against the weight of the evidence. The court held that the award of $0 damages bore no reasonable relationship to the alleged losses suffered.

While the court recognized that not every injury results in compensable pain and that a jury may decline an award of compensation for pain and suffering if the jury determines that the discomfort suffered by the Plaintiff was the sort of “transient rub of life” for which compensation is not warranted, here, the court found that the record confirmed that the Plaintiff had indeed sustained pain and suffering and that the general proposition that victims of accidents must be compensated for all that they suffer from the tort of another warranted the granting of a new trial.

Accordingly, the Superior Court found that the jury’s award of $0 damages was against the weight of the evidence. As such, the court reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded the case for a new trial limited to damages only.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this non-precedential decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Dale G. Larrimore of the Philadelphia law firm of Larrimore & Farnish, LLP, for bringing this case to my attention.

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