Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Motorist seeks court fees following $1,000 jury verdict


By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Dec 10, 2018


A motorist seeks an assessment of costs after a Madison County jury awarded him just $1,000 and Circuit Judge David Dugan denied his request for a new trial in a suit involving a 2011 Michigan crash.

On Dec. 5, Dugan set a motion hearing on the assessment of costs for Feb. 8 at 9 a.m.

After deliberating for two and a half hours on Aug. 15, a Madison County jury awarded Craig A. Atkinson $1,000 for pain and suffering experienced as a result of his injuries. The trial began Aug. 13 in Dugan’s court.

Atkinson was represented at trial by attorney Edward J. Szewczyk of Callis Papa & Szewezyk PC in Granite City.

Defendant Nancy J. Polzin was represented by Kenneth P. Williams of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney Ltd.

Atkinson filed a post-trial motion for a new trial on damages only on Aug. 30.

Atkinson argued that the “jury’s verdict in this case was legally inconsistent, as the jury failed to award any damages for two proven elements of damages in this case.”

He also argued that the award was “palpably inadequate” to compensate him for his injuries and damages.

“[T]he issue of liability in this case was decided by the jury in plaintiff’s favor and there was no issue of plaintiff’s contributory fault,” the motion stateed.

Polzin filed a response to Atkinson’s post-trial motion on Oct. 12. She admited that the issue of liability was decided in favor of Atkinson, but denies that the award was inadequate.

Polzin requested the court deny Atkinson’s post-trial motion.

Dugan denied the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial on the issue of damages on Oct. 24.

Atkinson responded by filing a motion for the assessment of costs on Oct. 26.

He argued that he was the prevailing party in the case and is entitled to reimbursement from the defendant for certain costs incurred in pursuit of his case.

He requested a total of $1,386.80 in fees and deposition costs.

Atkinson filed his complaint Sept. 3, 2013, alleging he was driving a 2003 Dodge Ram Truck on Sept. 5, 2011 traveling westbound in the far left lane on I-94 near Warren Wood Road in Chikaming Township in Michigan. At the same time, Polzin was driving a 2004 Ford Escape in the same lane.

Atkinson claimed he was slowing down because of traffic when Polzin rear-ended his vehicle.

Atkinson alleged Polzin failed to keep her vehicle under control, failed to keep a proper lookout, improperly operated her vehicle too closely to the plaintiff’s vehicle, failed to reduce her speed, and failed to exercise due care and caution.

As a result, Atkinson claimed he suffered injuries to his head, shoulders, ankles, knees, hand, back, neck and right leg.

In a trial brief filed by Polzin’s counsel on Aug. 10, the defendant alleged the damage to Atkinson’s vehicle was “minimal,” and the plaintiff reported no injuries at the scene and declined medical treatment.

Polzin argued that Atkinson's "extensive pre-accident medical history involving the same complaints he now attempts to relate to the subject accident, his refusal of treatment at the scene of the accident, the diagnostic studies performed at the hospital the day after the accident which revealed no evidence of acute post-traumatic injury, and the independent medical evaluation of Dr. [Benjamin] Crane all lead to the conclusion that Plaintiff simply cannot prove his alleged injuries are the result of the subject motor vehicle accident,” the brief stated.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1497

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Organizations in this Story

Callis Papa & Szewczyk PC Madison County Circuit Court Segal, McCambridge, Singer and Mahoney

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