Publication Details

John V. Mallon and Richard W. Fogarty Win Appeal

John V. Mallon and Richard W. Fogarty brought a successful appeal before the New Jersey Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, which overturned the Trial Court’s directed verdict entered against the Firm’s client and reinstated an initial jury verdict of zero dollars.  In Buchen v. Branick, Plaintiff alleged that he sustained injuries to his neck and back following a rear-end hit motor vehicle accident.  The Plaintiff was not subject to the limitation on lawsuit threshold and, therefore, was not required to demonstrate that he had sustained a “permanent injury” pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:6A-8(a).  At the close of evidence, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion for a Directed Verdict, holding that the Firm’s client was negligent as a matter of law and that that negligence was the proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injuries.  Following deliberation on the issue of damages, the jury awarded Plaintiff a verdict of “zero dollars.”  Without a request from Plaintiff’s counsel, the Trial Court advised the jury that this verdict was in error and instructed the jury that they were required to award Plaintiff damages at least for his temporary injuries.  The jury returned with a verdict of $30,000.00 in Plaintiff’s favor.  Mr. Mallon and Mr. Fogarty successfully convinced the Appellate Panel that the directed verdict was entered in error, as the proximate cause of Plaintiff’s alleged permanent injuries was disputed among the expert witnesses called to testify.  The Appellate Court further agreed that the zero dollar verdict was valid and that the Trial Court committed reversible error in rejecting the jury’s initial verdict and instructing them to redeliberate.  Rather than remanding the matter for a new trial on damages, the initial verdict of zero dollars was reinstated.