PHILADELPHIA – On Friday, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a judgment from the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas of no monetary damages to one of the parties involved in a 2009 car accident case.
In October 2014, a jury opted to award Frances Gold of Elkins Park no money at the conclusion of a motor vehicle accident litigation versus S. Rosen and Terri Rosen of Lafayette Hill.
“On April 23, 2004, Gold was involved in a [separate] motor vehicle accident. As a result, Gold suffered headaches, visual difficulties, dizziness, nausea, back pain, and neck pain for which she received medical treatment and physical therapy,” Judge Correale F. Stevens said. “Gold was released from physical therapy in June of 2005. Approximately six weeks thereafter, on Aug. 2, 2005, Gold was stopped at a red light when appellees’ vehicle driven by Terri Rosen rear-ended her.”
Gold initiated legal action in August 2007 and filed a complaint two years later, in August 2009, charging Rosen caused the Aug. 2, 2005 car accident and the neck injuries she suffered as a result. The matter proceeded to arbitration in August 2013, and the arbitrators awarded Gold $25,000 in damages – a decision Rosen appealed.
“On Oct. 21, 2014, the jury found Rosen had been negligent and that her negligence was a factual cause of Gold’s neck sprain/strain; however, it awarded Gold no monetary damages for her neck sprain/strain,” Stevens said.
As part of its rationale for this decision, the trial court pointed to Gold’s previous medical history of neck injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, notably the injury Gold was released from physical therapy for treatment of six weeks before the car accident at issue.
Gold’s request for a new trial was denied and her appeal of the jury verdict of no monetary damages proceeded to the Superior Court, on the grounds the trial court erred in not considering all the evidence when it decided not to award Gold those same monetary damages.
Gold cited Superior Court precedent in Lombardo v. DeLeon, arguing the jury must award monetary damages when it determines that an injury occurred. However, the Court disagreed with Gold’s rationale.
“This Court recognizes that not all injuries are serious enough to warrant compensation, even though there may be some pain,” Stevens said. “Accordingly, such conclusions are made on a case-by-case basis.”
Stevens concluded since the trial court “reasonably may have found the jury did not believe the plaintiff suffered any pain and suffering or that a pre-existing condition or injury was the sole cause of any alleged pain and suffering,” the Superior Court would likewise affirm the trial court’s judgment.
“Under the facts of this case, we discern no error in the trial court’s rationale. This case did not involve a violent collision but rather a relatively minor accident and Gold’s subsequent subjective claims of injuries,” Stevens said. “While the jury’s verdict slip indicates that it concluded Rosen’s negligence caused some harm to Gold, it did not find such harm significant enough to warrant a monetary award, and it is within a jury’s purview to make such an essential determination.”
The appellant is represented by David F. Binder and Alan S. Gold of Gold Silverman Goldenberger & Binder, in Philadelphia.
The appellees are represented by George H. Knoell III of Kane Pugh Knoell Troy & Kramer in Norristown and Jaime L. Wertz of Rabenold Koestel Goodman & Denaro, in Wyomissing.
Superior Court of Pennsylvania case 3308 EDA 2014
Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas 2007-18576
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org