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Jury Awards Minimal Damages in Case Where Liability Was Clear

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Joseph K. Cobuzio

Managing partner Joseph K. Cobuzio, with the assistance of associate Kimberly D. McDougal, defended a challenging trucking collision case in which liability was clear and the truck driver could not be located. Because nobody could testify for the defense as to liability, the Court directed a liability verdict in plaintiff’s favor and trial proceeded solely on damages.  Plaintiff alleged a variety of injuries, including vertebral fusion and harm to her shoulder.   Pre-trial motion practice by the firm resulted in the Court barring plaintiff’s late-supplied expert evidence concerning her vertebral fusion.  As for her shoulder, although plaintiff’s attorney claimed in his opening that plaintiff had no prior injuries, and plaintiff denied any previous issues with her shoulder under oath, our investigation revealed shoulder complaints arising out of an earlier car accident and confronted plaintiff with the discrepancy on cross-examination.  The jury returned a verdict of less than $30,000 for plaintiff, which the undoubtedly disappointed plaintiff is appealing.   The case is Orbea v. Butler, et al., in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Hudson County, Docket No. HUD-L-1398-14.

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