Massachusetts Top Court affirms 300k MA Auto Accident Verdict

Massachusetts Car Accident VeredictThe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a trial Court decision awarding a victim of a Mass. Car Accident nearly $300,000.( The Automobile Accident Victims award was reduced by the trial judge as a result of comparative negligence) The issue before Massachusetts Highest Court was an issue of first impression. The case was Baudanza v. Comcast, 454 Mass. 622 (2009).

The Jury initially awarded the Plaintiff nearly $97,000 but the Trial Justice determined that the Jury award was not enough to compensate the automobile Accident victim for his damages.  The Judge ruled that either there would be a new trial or Defense Counsel accept a judgment of nearly 300k. The Plaintiff accepted the judges increased verdict, otherwise known as an “additur”. “An additur is appropriate where the judge concludes that the verdict is sound except for the amount of damages and that the amount of damages is unreasonable.” Baudanza v. Comcast, 454 Mass. 622 (2009).

Defense decided to appeal the decision and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided that Defense Lawyers cannot agree to accept the additur and later appeal the decision. “As we stated at the outset, it may not have been clear before this decision that a party accepting an additur conditionally ordered by the judge is precluded from appealing from the judge’s order.”Id.

The relevant facts of the case as described by the SJC are as follows:

” On the morning of December 5, 2003, a service truck owned by the defendant, Comcast of Massachusetts I, Inc. (Comcast), and driven by its employee, Jason Gulinello, struck the driver’s side of an automobile driven by the plaintiff, Robert M. Baudanza, in an intersection in Billerica.   Baudanza was very seriously injured in the accident.   In 2004, he brought a negligence action against Comcast and Gulinello in the Superior Court.1 The case was tried before a jury in February, 2008.   The contested issues at trial were whether Comcast’s employee operated the truck negligently by driving at excessive speed and failing to see Baudanza’s vehicle enter the intersection, and whether Baudanza operated his own vehicle negligently by entering the intersection without stopping.”Id.

Editors’ note. It appears that Defense Counsel believed that it was better to accept the additur than risk a new trial in which the damages to the car crash victim could have been even higher. Defense Counsel wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They accepted the additur and made a calculated decision and then used a hardball litigation tactic to negate their acceptance of the additur.

If you were injured in a  MA car crash, motorcycle accident, truck accident or premises liability claim please contact Massachusetts Personal injury Lawyer David Slepkow 401-437-1100.

David is also a Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer.

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