OF JUDGMENT: 11/30/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. WILLIAM E. CHAPMAN III TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JOHN HUNTER STEVENS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: JEREMY TRISTAN HUTTO
GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Joe Reel sued Sanford Warren for injuries sustained in a
motor-vehicle collision when Warren rear-ended Reel. Warren
admitted liability, and the case went to trial on damages.
The jury awarded Reel $2, 480.12. Reel moved for a new trial
or, in the alternative, additur or a judgment notwithstanding
the verdict (JNOV), which the trial court denied. Reel
appeals the denial as error. Finding none, we affirm.
On August 21, 2009, Warren caused a motor-vehicle collision
when he rear-ended a vehicle operated by Reel's brother,
in which Reel was a passenger, at the intersection of
Highways 475 and 80 in Pearl, Mississippi. Warren admitted
negligence, and the case proceeded to trial on the issue of
damages. Reel submitted evidence of medical expenses totaling
$10, 914.12, and claimed neck and back pain as a result of
the accident. Reel also asserted he sustained an injury to
his cervical spine that necessitated medical treatment.
At trial, Warren submitted photographs of Reel's vehicle,
an accident report from the Pearl Police Department that
makes no mention of injuries sustained at the scene of the
accident, and admissions from Reel that he proceeded from the
accident scene to another location to give an estimate for a
prospective painting job and that he never went to the
emergency room. Warren testified that he was traveling
approximately five miles per hour when impact occurred, and
that his vehicle only suffered a cracked headlight.
On direct examination, Reel and his wife both denied that
Reel complained of neck pain prior to the accident. However,
during cross-examination, it was demonstrated that Reel
complained of neck pain dating back to 2006 and had undergone
magnetic resonance imaging because of said pain, and
preaccident medical records demonstrated that Reel suffered
from cervical-degenerative-disc disease. It was also shown
that Reel had a physical in November 2010, and his
physician's notes stated that Reel was "doing
extremely well, not having any major problems." Further,
Reel admitted during direct examination that he fell at work
in December 2011, yet denied any falls at work or home in his
previous deposition. It was also demonstrated that Reel saw
his physician in February 2012, that Reel told his physician
about the fall, and that the physician told Reel that the
fall probably exacerbated his neck pain.
Warren's medical expert testified that Reel's
preaccident complaints of pain were consistent with
cervical-degenerative-disc disease, that there was no
evidence of any acute injury on Reel's postaccident
diagnostic tests, and that based on comparisons of Reel's
pre-and postaccident testing, the accident did not change the
condition of Reel's neck. The jury found for Reel in the
amount of $2, 480.12. Reel moved for a new trial or,
alternatively, for additur or a JNOV. The circuit court
denied Reel's motion. Reel now appeals.
On appeal, Reel asserts he was entitled to a new trial or
additur because the jury awarded damages ...