Opinion:Benningfield v. Fischer-Columbo, 2021 OK CIV APP 44
Subject matter:Directed Verdict/Jury Trial
Date Decided:April 5, 2021
Trial Court:District Court of Tulsa County; Judge Nightingale
Route to this Court:Appeal from Final Judgment after jury trial; assigned to the Court of CivilAppeals, Division I
Facts:In May 20, 2015, Appellee rear-ended Appellant’s vehicle which was stopped at a red light. Despite the rear-end collision, Appellant did not seek or receive medical treatment for approximately five months. Appellant then obtained chiropractic treatment, then orthopedic treatment for her left shoulder, and then three years after the accident obtained surgical treatment for her left shoulder. Appellant filed suit for negligence, seeking damages for the May 2015 accident. Appellee admitted fault but challenged causation of Appellant’s claimed injuries. The case went to jury trial, where the Court denied Appellant’s motion for directed verdict. The jury returned a verdict for Appellee.
Standard of Review:Denial of a Motion for Directed Verdict reviewed de novo; trial court’s ruling to admit or exclude evidence is reviewed for clear abuse of discretion. 
Analysis:After review, we find that the testimony by Appellee’s medical expert, Dr. Craven–that Appellant had sustained injuries as a result of the May 2015 accident–did not require the trial court to direct a verdict on the issue of causation for the Appellant because the testimony of Dr. Craven in question was based solely upon subjective evidence and also because there was other evidence which contradicted Appellant’s position and/or supported Appellee’s position, including the following: (1) that Appellant tarried for approximately five months before seeking medical care (and the significance of this delay is exemplified by the fact that, prior to the accident at issue here, Appellant had previously been injured and had immediately sought medical care); (2) that approximately three years elapsed between the date of the accident and Appellant’s shoulder surgery; and (3) that Appellant, as her disabled husband’s primary caretaker, regularly lifted him in and out of a wheelchair to move him.No abuse of discretion by the trial court in allowing Appellee’s medical expert to testify about medical evidence that was unavailable to him at the time he conducted his IME. 
Vote:Prince, J. (author), Goree, P.J., and Mitchell, J. concur. 
Other: Cert. petition denied 8-0.