Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Prominent Lincoln eye surgeon loses appeal for new trial in slip and fall case against Bryan LGH Med CenterAnis v. BryanLGH Health System, 14 Neb. App. 372 December 27, 2005. No. A-04-661. Dr. Anis Aziz sued Bryan LGH Medical Center for injuries after he slipped and fell on ice in a hospital parking garage. The jury found for the defendant. The jury appeared to disagree over the doctor's comparative negligence. The jury sent written questions that showed the judge some of their opinions as to comparative fault, but at best some jurors thought the accident was a 50/50 deal. Court denies Doctor's contention that the jurors reached an impermissible "quotient verdict." Because the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence ( Richardson v. Ames Avenue Corp., 247 Neb. 128, 525 N.W.2d 212 (1995)), the doctor has only provided an explanation for the jurors disagreement over the degree of fault, and quotient verdicts are illegal only when jurors agree in advance to follow one. The test to be applied in determining the validity of a verdict which is attacked as a quotient verdict is whether the jury agreed beforehand to be bound by the result reached . . . ." Spreitzer v. State, 155 Neb. 70, 76, 50 N.W.2d 516, 522 (1951) Moreover, the court finds no prejudice even if the jurors adhered to an improper quotient verdict, because the best percentage of fault in favor of Dr Anis was 50% and then he still loses. It is extra hard to prove a jury gave a quotient verdict since jurors after the trial cant tell the court what they were thinking:
In Lambertus v. Buckley, 206 Neb. 440, 293 N.W.2d 110 (1980), the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's refusal to admit jurors' affidavits stating that they had misunderstood and misapplied the court's quotient verdict instruction. The court in Lambertus explained that the jurors' understanding of the quotient verdict instruction and details regarding the calculation of damages inhered in the verdict and did not constitute extraneous, prejudicial information.

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