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Veliz-Sanchez v. Bonola-Silva

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 14, 2013

EVODIO VELIZ-SANCHEZ, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ALEJANDRO BONOLA-SILVA and A1 TAXI EXPRESS, INC., Defendants-Appellants.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued August 6, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. L-2865-10.

David A. Avedissian argued the cause for appellants.

Eugene S. Wishnic argued the cause for respondent (Eugene S. Wishnic, P.C., attorney; Mr. Wishnic and Mark J. Cintron, on the brief).

Before Judges Lihotz and Guadagno.

PER CURIAM

Defendants Alejandro Bonola-Silva and A1 Taxi Express, Inc. (A1 Taxi) appeal from the entry of judgment following a jury trial in favor of plaintiff Evodio Veliz-Sanchez. The total jury award of $101, 700, included $100, 000 in compensatory damages and $1, 700 in pre-judgment interest. We affirm.

I.

On January 10, 2009, a vehicle driven by defendant Bonola-Silva struck a vehicle being driven by plaintiff. Plaintiff filed a personal injury complaint against Bonola-Silva and A1 Taxi, the owner the vehicle Bonola-Silva was operating. At trial, the attorney representing both defendants, stipulated to liability and acknowledged Bonola-Silva's responsibility for causing the accident. The trial continued solely on the issue of damages.

After three days of trial and the close of all evidence, defendants' attorney claimed, for the first time, that the stipulation of liability was limited to Bonola-Silva and did not extend to A1 Taxi. The trial court denied A1 Taxi's motion for a directed verdict and the jury returned a verdict in plaintiff's favor, against both defendants.

On appeal, appellants raise two issues. First, Bonolo-Silva claims his stipulation was limited to his individual liability and he did not concede liability as to A1 Taxi. Second, appellants claim the trial court erred in not permitting a defense expert, Dr. Robert Bercik, to testify regarding plaintiff's "symptom magnification, " or to present any conclusion suggesting plaintiff was not credible. We reject both arguments and affirm.

II.

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