Anyone who has seen a movie involving a jury trial knows that things can get quite heated when it comes to making statements in front of the jury and making a compelling argument. There are quite a few rules that apply when it comes to what lawyers can and cannot say during the trial when the jury is present in the room. These rules are designed to keep the proceedings fair and to ensure that the jury is not unfairly biased or persuaded based on an off-hand comment by one of the lawyers.
In the recent case of Baisony v. City of Boston, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the City of Boston after suffering injuries when a police cruiser collided with the bicycle that he was riding. The plaintiff alleged that the police officer driving the cruiser was traveling the wrong direction down a one-way street when the collision occurred. At the close of trial, the jury awarded the injured plaintiff $22,000 in damages.
The defendant brought post-judgment motions, including a motion for judgment as a matter of law, a new trial, or a remittitur. In its motions, the defendant contended that the lower court judge erred when ruling on certain evidentiary matters during the proceedings and that the plaintiff’s counsel was insufficiently sanctioned for what the defendant characterized as misconduct during the trial.
The lower court denied the motions, and the defendant appealed.
The appeals court upheld the lower court’s rulings and entry of verdict in favor of the plaintiff. In reaching this conclusion, the court first concluded that the lower court’s ruling on a motion for a new trial is only subject to reversal when the appellate court can find a clear abuse of discretion. During the trial, the lower court excluded witness testimony evidence suggesting that the subsequent investigation into the accident was conducted improperly. The appellate court found that the exclusion of this evidence did not rise to the level of a reversible error.
The appellate court also upheld the lower court’s ruling allowing the admission of testimony indicating that the plaintiff received physical therapy treatment for four years following the collision over an objection from the defense that such testimony was a surprise. Regarding the defendant’s contentions about the plaintiff’s lawyer’s allegedly improper statements, the appellate court concluded that the lower court judge provided sufficient instructions to the jury to disregard the statements and that both parties’ attorneys had engaged in zealous advocacy that “at times pushed the envelope.”
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Law Offices of John S. Moffa, we have helped many Massachusetts residents investigate their claims and vigorously assert their rights. With over 25 years of experience in personal injury law, we know just what it takes to bring a successful claim and understand the compassion that you and your family need during this challenging time. Call us now at 508-362-5554 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
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