August 16, 2007
JANICE POLLICK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
ALBERTO F. CROCETTI AND S.L.C. METER EAST A/K/A RIO SUPPLY, INC., JOINTLY, SEVERALLY, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, L-1252-04.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued August 7, 2007
Before Judges S.L. Reisner and Lyons.
Plaintiff Janice Pollick appeals from a trial court order entered on September 22, 2006, denying her motion for a new trial, following an unfavorable jury verdict on her personal injury lawsuit. We affirm.
Pollick's lawsuit arose from an accident on May 8, 2002, in which a pick-up truck driven by defendant Alberto F. Crocetti struck Pollick's car from the rear while Pollick was stopped at an intersection. At trial Crocetti admitted liability but contested Pollick's claim for damages based on alleged injuries to her back and neck. The parties presented contradictory testimony concerning the impact of the accident, with Pollick claiming that her car was pushed through the intersection by the force of the accident while Crocetti claimed his car was traveling at five or ten miles an hour and merely "nudged" her vehicle a few inches. Pollick testified that she experienced severe pain immediately after the accident and that she was holding her head and complaining of the pain. Crocetti testified that immediately after the accident, he and Pollick had a "normal conversation" in which he asked if she was okay and she told him "she was fine." She even talked with him about the possibility of his doing some gardening work for her.
Pollick presented expert testimony that the accident had caused her to suffer a herniated disc. Crocetti presented expert testimony that the accident had, at most, caused only temporary soft tissue strain and sprain and that the herniation was a pre-existing condition. There was no dispute that Pollick had been involved in several other auto accidents, including prior accidents that resulted in her making claims for injuries to her neck and back. She was also involved in an accident on December 2, 2002, for which she made a claim of injury to her neck and back. The jury concluded that the accident with Crocetti's vehicle was not the proximate cause of any injury to Pollick.
On this appeal Pollick claims that the jury's verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Although she was permitted to introduce photographs of the damage to her automobile, Pollick also contends that the trial judge erred in refusing to allow her to testify concerning an estimate for repairs to her car. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that there is no basis to disturb the jury verdict or the trial judge's evidentiary ruling. There was ample evidence to support the verdict, particularly in light of the deference due the jury's opportunity to judge the credibility of the witnesses. See Caldwell v. Haynes, 136 N.J. 422, 432 (1994); Dolson v. Anastasia, 55 N.J. 2, 6 (1969). We also find no abuse of discretion or other error in the trial judge's evidentiary ruling. Pollick's appellate arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant further discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).
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