The plaintiff appealed the jury's finding that he was sixty percent guilty of the accident and the trial court's denial of his proposal for a new trial James Justice v. Paul Gaiter Et Al, No. M2019-01299-COA- R3-CV, Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville (October 15, 2020). The Tennessee Court of Appeals addressed the question of who decides facts in a jury trial.
Engine accident occurred on December 23, 2016 in Williamson County, near the Cool Springs Galleria. Paul Gaiter ("respondent") tried to drive from one parking lot to another across Seaboard Lane, which separated the parking lots. The defendant, who had withdrawn on the road after being allowed by the cars in the lanes closest to him, moved his vehicle into the lane occupied by James Justice (the "plaintiff") when the two vehicles came into contact. The nature of the contact and the extent of the damage are questioned.
The plaintiff sued the defendant with allegations of negligence and negligence per se and is seeking $ 150,000 in damages. Despite the fact that the defendant had no insurance or that his insurance cover was insufficient to satisfy the claim, the plaintiff notified his uninsured car insurance company, Mid-Century Insurance Company. The defendant and the Mid-Century submitted replies each denying liability and raising the defense for comparative errors.
The jury trial took place on 6 and 7 May 2019. The jury found that both parties were wrong and judged 60 percent of the mistake to the Plaintiff and 40 percent of the mistake to the defendant and awarded no damages. The court accepted the judgment and ruled in favor of the defendant.
The award of errors is an actual decision of the jury. The Supreme Court of Tennessee has set the standard for reviewing the jury's conclusions that a civil judgment is sufficient, a court will only set aside the results of a jury if there is no substantive evidence to support the verdict. .
In order to determine whether there is such substantial evidence, the court must (1) take the strongest legitimate view of all evidence in favor of the judgment; (2) accept the truth of all evidence in support of the judgment; (3) allow all reasonable conclusions to uphold the judgment; and (4) discard all countervailing evidence. The credibility of the witnesses is the jury, not the appellate courts.
Substantial evidence is evidence that is essential to the issue in controversy, which must necessarily take into account the controversy and in itself or in connection with other evidence. , be decisive for the case.
It does not matter when the weight or consideration of the evidence is under review of material evidence. Since the essential standard of evidence is the basis for the right to a trial, the appellate courts must confirm it if there is substantial evidence to support a jury's judgment.
The evidence presented in this case, related to the issue in the appeal, consists of testimonies from the plaintiff and the defendant and of images showing the damage to both parties' vehicles. At the trial, the plaintiff testified that he “was in traffic. . . [which was] practically stopped when he saw that the defendant "dropped" from the left.
Conversely, the defendant testified that he was sitting still when the collision took place. The defendant denied hitting the plaintiff's vehicle completely in the side, next to or "t-boned" him. The parties' photographic exhibitions showed scraping along the side of the plaintiff's vehicle. The scraping is visible along the length of the front door, and there are also scratch marks on the back of the driver's side and the rear fender on the driver's side. Pictures of the defendant's vehicle show damage to the front of the car, mainly but not exclusively from the center to the passenger side.
By denying the plaintiff's proposal for judgment Despite the verdict and / or new trial, the court found that the jury's judgment is not "contrary to the weight of the evidence." Since there was substantive evidence to support the jury's decision, the Board of Appeal concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the plaintiff's proposal. and they were innocent. In a case where a jury distributes responsibility contrary to the beliefs of a party who does not receive any damages, an appeal is almost inevitable. No appellate court will ever pass judgment on the evidence before the jury and therefore the plaintiff has had no chance in this appeal.
© 2020 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to working as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance management, insurance operations and insurance fraud almost equal to insurance policyholders. He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and email@example.com.
Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine / ACE Legend Award.
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