Defense Verdict in Damages-Only Trial Affirmed

Posted on September 12th, 2014 by sutteroconnell

The Eighth District Court of Appeals upheld a defense verdict yesterday in a damages-only jury trial.  The case of Kariv v. Consolo, 2014- Ohio-3910,  stems from an auto accident in which the defendant stipulated to liability, but contested proximate causation and the extent of plaintiff’s injuries.  The evidence revealed during trial that plaintiff had pre-existing medical conditions and delayed seeking treatment after the accident for 11 days.  During that delayed time, plaintiff vacationed to Florida, visited amusement parks, and admitted to being pain free for 6 days post-accident.  However, plaintiff’s treating physician testified that all of plaintiff’s injuries were solely attributable to the accident.

Plaintiff claimed that because his treating doctor was the only expert to testify at trial, he was entitled to a directed verdict on the issue of proximate causation.  Both the trial court and the Eighth District disagreed.  The Court of Appeals reiterated its previous holding on this issue that, “[t]he mere fact testimony is uncontroverted, unimpeached, and unchallenged does not require the trier of fact to accept the evidence” if they found the testimony was not credible.  This reasoning is also in conformity with Supreme Court of Ohio precedent, that the trier of fact has the duty to weigh the evidence presented, “and has the right to accept or reject it.”

The full text of the Eighth District’s opinion can be found here.