Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Jury's Zero Verdict Upheld Even Though Defense Medical Expert Conceded Evidence of Alleged Injury

In the case of Derry v. Blackman, No. 3:21-CV-01744 (M.D. Pa. June 30, 2023 Mehalchick, Mag. J.), the court ruled that a jury’s zero verdict in a conceded liability case was not against the weight of the evidence.

In this matter, the Plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial.  The Federal Court addressed the motion under the standards set forth in F.R.C.P. 59.  Federal Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick, who has been nominated to assume a position as a Federal Judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, wrote a thoroughly researched Opinion on the current status of Pennsylvania law regarding the validity of zero verdicts handed down by juries in Pennsylvania.

The court emphasized that the record in the case confirm that the existence, severity and alleged cause of the Plaintiff’s alleged injuries were all disputed.

Federal Magistrate Judge Mehalchick reiterated the rule of law that a jury is free to decide which side’s witnesses are credible.

The court also noted the general rule of law that, even if a jury found that a Plaintiff did actually suffer some pain or discomfort as a result of an accident, the jury could conclude that the injuries were not significant enough to warrant compensation.

In the end, the court found that the jury's verdict did not result in a miscarriage of justice and that the verdict did not cry out to be overturned as shocking the judicial conscience.   

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

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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