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THOMAS G. RUSSELL v. THE LEWIS GROCER COMPANY AND HOWARD SPENCER

OCTOBER 25, 1989

THOMAS G. RUSSELL
v.
THE LEWIS GROCER COMPANY AND HOWARD SPENCER



EN BANC

PITTMAN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from a jury verdict rendered in favor of the defendants on May 12, 1987. Mr. Russell alleges that he was injured when a tractor-trailer truck rear-ended him. The tractor-trailer truck was owned by The Lewis Grocer Company and was driven by Howard Spencer. The accident occurred in Jackson on January 31, 1976, and Mr. Russell alleges that his physical problems from the time of the accident to the time of trial were a direct result of the accident. At trial, Mr. Russell presented his medical bills as prima facie evidence of his physical condition. The only testimony presented by Mr. Russell was that of himself, his wife, and his brother-in-law. The Lewis Grocer Company and Howard Spencer presented the testimony of several of Mr. Russell's treating physicians. Some had treated Mr. Russell prior to the accident, and some had only treated him after the accident. After the trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants, and Mr. Russell appeals to this Court. The Lewis Grocer Company and Howard Spencer cross-appeal, asking that this Court enter sanctions against Mr. Russell.

Mr. Russell, appellant, assigns as error to this Court:

 ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I

 THE JURY HAVING BEEN PEREMPTORILY INSTRUCTED TO FIND THE DEFENDANTS LIABLE, THE VERDICT FOR THE DEFENDANTS WAS ERRONEOUS, AGAINST THE OVERWHELMING WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE AND THE PRODUCT OF BIAS AND PASSION.

 ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR II

 THE JURY DID NOT EXPLAIN ITS VERDICT IN FAVOR OF THE DEFENDANTS AS IT IS REQUIRED TO DO WHEN PEREMPTORILY INSTRUCTED TO FIND THE DEFENDANTS LIABLE.

 On cross-appeal, the Lewis Grocer Company and Howard Spencer, appellees, assign as error to this Court:

 CROSS-ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I

 THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT IMPOSING SANCTIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF AND IN REFUSING TO GRANT THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR RULE 11 SANCTIONS, ETC.

 STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

 This appeal is the result of a motor vehicle accident involving the appellant, Mr. Russell, and appellee, Howard Spencer. Mr. Spencer was employed by The Lewis Grocer Company as a truck driver. Mr. Spencer was traveling in a northerly direction on U.S. Highway 49 and was following Russell's vehicle when Russell stopped at the traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 49 and Northside Drive in Jackson, Mississippi. Russell had stopped for the red light, and Mr. Spencer ran into the rear of Russell's vehicle. Neither Russell nor his wife required medical attention at the scene of the accident. However, on the way back to appellant's home in Belzoni, Mississippi, he alleges that he began to experience severe pain. So much so, that upon arriving in Belzoni, he went to Dr. Woods for a pain killer which was administered by shot. Russell testified that he had to return to Dr. Woods for another shot in the early morning hours and again around 9:00 a.m. the next day for an additional shot.

 The insurer of Lewis Grocer Company paid a claim to Russell for the damages to his vehicle, but refused to pay medical expenses without appellant executing a medical release in their favor. The insurer, The Travelers Group, insisted that the medical release was necessary in order for them to properly ascertain the extent of the injury to appellant and those medical expenses which were a result of this particular accident. Appellant ...


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