Legal Alert -
Defense Verdict Affirmed On Appeal
On May 17, 2018, Brett R. Bloch, Senior Partner, and our S&P trial team, completed a four day trial defending H.A.T. Services Corporation against allegations that one of its trucks was involved in a rear end collision in Apopka, Florida which injured the Plaintiff. Our trial team obtained a defense verdict notwithstanding having to stipulate to liability, so this result is especially noteworthy. In his lawsuit, Jeb Bachman alleged that he was slowing down for a yellow light at an intersection on a rainy day when his vehicle was impacted by our client’s commercial ice cream delivery truck. The Plaintiff asserted that he sustained a concussion, traumatic brain injury, traumatic disc herniation at the C5-C6 level which required a laminectomy and related soft tissue injuries. The Plaintiff further claimed that he continued to suffer permanent dizziness, neck pain and headaches as a result of the collision.
Although liability was conceded due to the nature of the collision, Brett stressed to the jury that the Plaintiff did not evidence the required clinical elements of a concussion and that all of his neurological tests yielded normal results. Brett also asserted that the Plaintiff’s spinal surgery occurred three and one-half years after the collision and was necessitated by an intervening injury as well as a degenerative condition. In closing arguments, the Plaintiff requested a $1,017,059 damage award.
After a four hour deliberation period, the jury rendered a defense verdict.
The Plaintiff thereafter filed an appeal, contending that the trial court erred in failing to order a new trial due to alleged errors in the verdict form and that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Diran Seropian, Senior Partner, and our S&P appellate team represented our client in the appeal, and argued to the appellate court that the Plaintiff’s trial counsel failed to properly object to the use of the subject verdict from and in fact agreed to its use after the court ruled adverse to his client at the charging conference. Diran also asserted that the verdict was entirely appropriate due to conflicting medical testimony between the parties’ respective experts, thereby leaving this issue for jury determination.
On March 20, 2020, the appellate court issued its opinion and denied the Plaintiff’s appeal. In affirming the trial court’s order denying a new trial as well as affirming the judgment entered in favor of our client, the appellate court specifically noted that at trial, the Plaintiff was “aggressively cross-examined” regarding his medical records and the information which he provided to his health care providers and that at trial, the Defendants presented evidence that the Plaintiff’s injuries on the date of the collision “may not have been as severe as he had stated in testimony.”
Jeb Bachman v. H.A.T. Services Corporation., case no. 2015-CA-009291-0, venued in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and for Orange County, Florida. Hon. Heather L. Higbee presiding.
Jeb Bachman v. H.A.T. Services Corporation, case no. 5D18-3376, venued in the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida, Fifth District.
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