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Pruitt v. Mississippi Farm Bureau Casuality

December 08, 1998

ROBERT LEE PRUITT APPELLANT
v.
MISSISSIPPI FARM BUREAU CASUALTY APPELLEES



Before Thomas, P.j., Diaz, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Southwick, J.

INSURANCE COMPANY

DATE OF JUDGMENT: August 1, 1996

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. BILLY JOE LANDRUM

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - INSURANCE

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: JURY VERDICT FOR FARM BUREAU.

DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED

¶1. Robert Lee Pruitt appeals from the judgment entered after a Jones County Circuit Court jury found in favor of his insurance carrier, Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company. Pruitt contends that the trial Judge erred by denying his peremptory instruction and by overruling his motion for a new trial, or alternatively, a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. We find that the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence and affirm.

FACTS

¶2. On the evening of April 5, 1994, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Robert Lee Pruitt was traveling south on Highway 11 in Jones County, near the town of Eastabutchie. Pruitt's rate of speed was between 30 to 35 m.p.h in a 55 m.p.h. zone. Soon, there were three cars behind him, driven by James Corley, Corley's friend William Lee Hamilton, and an unidentified woman. When the cars entered a flat, visible stretch of roadway, Corley moved over into the left lane in an attempt to pass all three cars ahead of him. He had passed the first car and was even with the car immediately behind Pruitt, when Pruitt suddenly turned in front of him to make a left turn. Corley, who was traveling at 45 m.p.h., hit his brakes. He could not avoid the collision and struck Pruitt's truck in the rear.

¶3. Neither driver complained of serious injuries. Following an investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Pruitt and Corley drove their respective vehicles home. The next day, Pruitt began to suffer pain in his back and neck requiring medical attention. He continued seeking medical treatment and was eventually transferred by his employer to a position involving less physical exertion. Farm Bureau, Pruitt's insurer, paid for Pruitt's medical expenses and for the damage to his truck. Seeking further compensation, Pruitt filed suit against Farm Bureau to recover under his uninsured motorist provision for his pain and suffering and lost wages. Farm Bureau then filed a third party complaint against Corley, asserting its subrogation rights against him for any amount which it might be required to pay Pruitt.

ΒΆ4. Following a trial held on July 25, 1996, the jury returned a verdict for Farm Bureau, finding that the accident was not caused by the uninsured motorist, Corley. Pruitt's motions for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, a new trial, were denied by the ...


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