ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District has reversed and remanded an auto injury case that was tried in St. Louis County Circuit Court, finding that Judge Tom DePriest Jr. erred in granting a directed verdict in favor of the defendant. The appellate court held that a jury could have "reasonably concluded" that the plaintiff made a sufficient case for negligence.
A directed verdict is when a judge tells a jury to reach a specific decision in a case because no reasonable jury could reach a different verdict.
According to court filings, Antonio Webb Jr. sued Ronica M. Adams over an April 13, 2011 collision at the intersection of New Halls Ferry Road and Dunn Road in St. Louis. He alleged that Adams operated her vehicle at an excessive speed, failed to keep a careful lookout, failed to yield and failed to slow down, stop, swerve or sound a warning.
At the close of Webb's evidence, Adams had moved for a directed verdict, the ruling states, arguing that Webb failed to show Adams’ alleged negligence caused the accident because "Webb testified that he did not remember the accident at all and Adams' deposition testimony did not establish negligence."
The ruling states that Webb responded by asserting that he was driving straight through an intersection, while Adams testified that she was turning left at an intersection where she was required to yield. He further argued that his evidence was sufficient to establish that Adams' negligence was the cause of the collision and his injuries which led to medical bills totaling $22,734.60.
The appeals court agreed with Webb.
"Because there was sufficient evidence for a jury to have reasonably concluded Adams breached her duty to yield the right-of-way causing Webb's damages, Webb made a submissible case for negligence that should have been sent to the jury for them to weigh the evidence and the respective credibility of the witnesses," the ruling states.
Judge Gary M. Gaertner Jr. issued the court's decision with Robert M. Clayton III and Angela T. Quigless concurring.