Back in 2009, I mentioned a modest $100,000 plaintiff verdict in a Smith County rear-ender. The Circuit Court later granted plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. The jury rendered a $250,000 verdict at the re-trial.

The defendant appealed and argued that the trial court should not have granted the new trial. The Court of Appeals agreed.

Here is the Court’s opinion issued on February 24, 2015.

The plaintiff’s medical bills were $37,227.  The Court found that the original verdict was not so low as to shock the conscience. As a result, the Court reinstated the original verdict and rendered the case.

Judge Ishee drafted the majority opinion. Judge Irving dissented without a written opinion.

My Take:

I’m a bit surprised that the plaintiff appealed. Normally, neither side would appeal a verdict of this size in a car wreck case.

[Correction: As fleshed out in the comments, I got the procedure wrong in this take. The Defendant appealed. The Plaintiff filed a motion for new trial. I am not surprised that the Defendant appealed. I am surprised that the Plaintiff filed a motion for new trial on damages given the facts of the case and verdict. Sorry for the confusion].

If someone wants to criticize this decision, the angle would have to be on the issue of deferring to the trial court’s discretion.

A $100,000 verdict with $37,223 in meds is not even a bad result with current Mississippi juries, much less a shock the conscience verdict.