Scandariato v. Borrelli
A court can order a remittitur, if partiality, prejudice, mistake or corruption influence the verdict. In October 2006, the plaintiff pastry chef, 28, allegedly was driving west on West Main Street in Norwich when the defendant, 68, attempted to make a left turn, and the motor vehicles collided. The defendant driver received a ticket, because he failed to yield the right-of-way. A neurologist, Anthony Alessi, diagnosed the plaintiff with a soft tissue neck injury and rated her with a 5 percent permanent partial disability of the brain, because her neck injury causes severe headaches. A jury awarded the plaintiff $316,465, which was reduced 20 percent for contributory negligence to $253,172. The defendant moved to set aside the verdict and argued that Alessi's testimony was improper and prejudicial, because the plaintiff did not experience a brain injury. The defendant argued that the jury became confused and wrongly awarded "brain injury" damages, as opposed to "soft tissue" damages. The court found that Alessi clearly testified that there was nothing wrong with the plaintiff's brain and that she experienced no cognitive issues. The court found that Alessi's testimony as an expert could help the jury comprehend the evidence. The defendant cross-examined the neurologist. The jury was clearly informed that the plaintiff's allegation was she injured her neck and experienced headaches. A court can set aside a verdict, if the court finds that the jury could not reasonably reach a certain conclusion. The court was not persuaded that the jury was confused. Alessi's testimony was clear. There were numerous medical reports and several witnesses. Substantial evidence supported the plaintiff's allegations. The court denied the defendant's motion to set aside. Ruling on the defendant's motion for remittitur, the court was not persuaded that the amount awarded was excessive, or that the verdict was contrary to the evidence and shocked the court's conscience. "Considering the evidence heard by the jury," wrote the court, "it could reasonably have found the damages that it did without being influenced by partiality, prejudice, mistake or corruption." The court denied the defendant's motion for remittitur.