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Jackovic v. Webb

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District

June 19, 2013

SHERI JACKOVIC, et al. Appellants
v.
MARY WEBB Appellee

APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CV 11 03 1245

SIDNEY N. FREEMAN, Attorney at Law, for Appellants.

JAMES M. LYONS, JR., Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

JENNIFER HENSAL, Judge.

{¶1} Sheri and Donald Jackovic appeal a judgment of the Summit County Common Pleas Court denying their motions for directed verdict, judgment notwithstanding the verdict and new trial. For the following reasons, this Court affirms in part and reverses in part.

I.

{¶2} On July 16, 2007, Mrs. Jackovic was carpooling to work with Stacy Davidson when Mary Webb, one of their coworkers, crashed her car into the front-passenger side of Ms. Davidson's car. Ms. Davidson estimated that she was driving at approximately 40 miles per hour at the time. The collision spun Ms. Davidson's car, and the two cars ended up crashing into each other a second time. The collisions caused the airbags in Ms. Davidson's car to deploy, with the passenger-side airbag striking Mrs. Jackovic in the chest. According to Ms. Davidson, following the collisions, Mrs. Jackovic grabbed her chest and started screaming. Mrs. Jackovic testified that her chest hurt so much after the collisions that she thought she was having a heart attack. Ms. Davidson testified that, when emergency personnel arrived, they put Mrs. Jackovic on a stretcher and took her to an ambulance. At the time, Mrs. Jackovic was wheezing and having trouble breathing. Mrs. Jackovic confirmed that she was transported by stretcher to an ambulance where she was given oxygen.

{¶3} According to Mrs. Jackovic, the ambulance took her to a hospital, where doctors took x-rays and gave her muscle relaxers. Dr. Martin Hellman diagnosed her as having a chest wall contusion and cervical strain. Dr. Brianne Cicchani prescribed her pain medication and muscle relaxants, released her from the hospital, and told her to follow-up with her regular doctor in three to five days.

{¶4} Mrs. Jackovic testified that, in addition to the pain in her chest, the accident also injured her neck, which caused her to develop headaches on a regular basis. She testified that, although her doctor prescribed a couple of different drugs for treatment, her neck pain did not resolve. Her doctor, therefore, referred her to a physical therapist, but the pain only got worse. According to Mrs. Jackovic, she still had daily neck pain and headaches at the time of trial.

{¶5} The Jackovics sued Ms. Webb for negligence and loss of consortium. At trial, Ms. Webb admitted that she had been negligent. She argued, however, that Mrs. Jackovic did not suffer any damages that were proximately caused by her negligence. At the conclusion of the trial, the Jackovics moved for a directed verdict, but the trial court denied their motion. A jury found in favor of Ms. Webb, and awarded the Jackovics zero damages. The Jackovics moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial, but the court denied their motions. The Jackovics have appealed, assigning four errors.

II.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED, TO THE PREJUDICE OF SHERI JACKOVIC AND DONALD JACKOVIC, BY DENYING THEIR MOTION FOR DIRECTED VERDICT ON THE ISSUE OF CAUSATION.

{¶6} The Jackovics argue that the trial court should have granted their motion for directed verdict because they established causation of the emergency-medical-care that Mrs. Jackovic received immediately following the accident as a matter of law. "Under Civ.R. 50(A)(4), a motion for a directed verdict should be granted if 'the trial court, after construing the evidence most strongly in favor of the party against whom the motion is directed, finds that upon any determinative issue reasonable minds could come to but one conclusion upon the evidence submitted and that conclusion is adverse to such party.'" Bennett v. Admir., Ohio Bur. of Workers' Comp., 134 Ohio St.3d 329, 2012-Ohio-5639, ¶ 14, quoting Civ.R. ...


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