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Francis-Harbin v. Sensormatic Electronics LLC

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

April 25, 2018

Valerie Francis-Harbin, etc., Appellant,
v.
Sensormatic Electronics, LLC, etc., et al., Appellees.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower Tribunal No. 12-8626 Monica Gordo, Judge.

          Arthur J. Morburger, for appellant.

          Perez & Rodriguez, P.A., and Javier J. Rodriguez, for appellees.

          Before EMAS, FERNANDEZ and LUCK, JJ.

          EMAS, J.

          INTRODUCTION

         Valerie Francis-Harbin, plaintiff below, appeals 1) the trial court's final judgment following a jury trial on her negligence claim; and 2) the trial court's post judgment order denying her motion for new trial or for additur. We affirm, because the jury's verdict is not legally inconsistent, and Francis-Harbin has failed to provide this court with a sufficient record upon which this court can properly review her claim that the verdict is inadequate or contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.

         FACTS AND BACKGROUND

         Francis-Harbin was shopping at a Walmart store when a scissor lift truck struck her left foot, causing injury. Francis-Harbin filed suit against Walmart, AGM Tech, Inc., Sensormatic Electronics, LLC, and ADT Security Services, Inc., alleging that an employee of Walmart, or alternatively, an employee of AGM Tech (as an authorized agent of Sensormatic Electronics/ADT Security) (collectively, Sensormatic), negligently operated the machine causing her injury. Defendants denied liability and asserted that Francis-Harbin was negligent.

         The case proceeded to jury trial, resulting in a verdict that found Walmart 65% at fault, Francis-Harbin 20% at fault, and Sensormatic/ADT and AGM Tech 15% at fault.[1] The jury awarded Francis-Harbin $14, 000 in past medical expenses and $96, 000 for lost earnings, an amount totaling $110, 000. The jury awarded Francis-Harbin no damages for past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, future medical expenses and future lost earnings. When the verdict was announced, and before the jury was discharged, Francis-Harbin objected to the verdict as legally inconsistent. The trial court denied the request that the jury be reinstructed and directed to continue deliberations.

         Francis-Harbin thereafter filed a motion for new trial or in the alternative, for additur, asserting that the verdict awarding no damages for past or future pain and suffering was legally inconsistent with the award of $14, 000 for past medical expenses. Francis-Harbin further contended she was entitled to a new trial or to an additur because the jury's award of no damages for past pain and suffering was inadequate in light of the evidence.

         In response, Sensormatic argued, inter alia, that defendants disputed at trial (1) whether an accident ever happened; (2) whether Francis-Harbin was injured as a result of the alleged accident or event; and (3) whether Francis-Harbin's physical and mental complaints were a result of the alleged accident or instead the result of pre-existing conditions or post-accident events (e.g., diabetes, morbid obesity, a subsequent car accident).

         The trial court denied Francis-Harbin's motion for new trial or additur and entered final judgment awarding ...


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