Appeal from the Circuit Court of Williamson County. No. 92-L-189. Honorable William H. Wilson, Judge, presiding.
The Honorable Justice Lewis delivered the opinion of the court: Chapman, J., concurs. Justice Goldenhersh, dissenting:
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lewis
This cause has been considered on the court's own motion, and the court being fully advised finds:
That on June 9, 1995, this court filed its decision in this cause, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 23 (134 Ill. 2d R. 23); and
That this court has now decided to enter said decision as a published opinion.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the decision in this case shall be revised to be, and shall be entered as, a published opinion.
The Honorable Justice LEWIS delivered the opinion of the court:
Plaintiff appeals from the trial court's entry of judgment on the jury's verdict and denial of her posttrial motion for a new trial on damages only. On appeal, plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in (1) denying her motion for a new trial on the issue of damages; (2) in not taking judicial notice of an appellate court case involving different parties; (3) in denying her motion to strike the entire testimony of defendant's expert witness; and (4) in sustaining defendant's objection to questions asked of plaintiff's treating chiropractor. We affirm.
This case arises out of an automobile accident in which plaintiff was a passenger in a car that was struck from behind by a pickup truck driven by defendant. Defendant admitted liability, and the trial court directed a verdict as to liability. The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff and against defendant for a total of $6,457.75. Plaintiff was awarded $5,617.75 for her medical expenses, $340 for lost wages, and $500 for pain and suffering. The jury awarded no damages to plaintiff for disability. Plaintiff claims that she is entitled to a new trial on the issue of damages because "the jury's verdict was inconsistent [and] inadequate, and the jury ignored proven elements of damages." We disagree on all three points.
When reviewing a trial court's decision on a motion for a new trial, we must keep in mind the respective roles of the jury, the trial judge, and the reviewing court. ( Maple v. Gustafson (1992), 151 Ill. 2d 445, 603 N.E.2d 508, 177 Ill. Dec. 438.)
"Unquestionably, it is the province of the jury to resolve conflicts in the evidence, to pass upon the credibility of the witnesses, and to decide what weight should be given to the witnesses' testimony. [Citation.] A trial court cannot reweigh the evidence and set aside a verdict merely because the jury could have drawn different inferences or conclusions, or because the court feels that other results are more reasonable. [Citations.] Likewise, the appellate court should not usurp the function of the jury and substitute its judgment on questions of fact fairly submitted, tried, and determined from the evidence which did not greatly preponderate either way. Maple, 151 Ill. 2d at 452-53, 603 N.E.2d at 511-12.
On a motion for a new trial, the court is to weigh the evidence and set aside the verdict and order a new trial only if the verdict is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. ( Maple, 151 Ill. 2d at 454, 603 N.E.2d at 512.) A verdict is against the manifest weight of the evidence if the opposite conclusion is clearly evident or if the jury findings are unreasonable, arbitrary, and not based upon any of the evidence. ( Maple, 151 Ill. 2d at 454, 603 N.E.2d at 512-13.) Each case in which the jury's award of damages is claimed to be inadequate must be reviewed on its own facts ( Usselmann v. Jansen (1994), 257 Ill. App. 3d 978, 629 N.E.2d 193, 195 Ill. Dec. 885), but, generally, no new trial will be granted in a personal injury action on the grounds of the inadequacy of the damages, particularly where the trial is otherwise error free. Kumorek v. Moyers (1990), 203 Ill. App. 3d 908, 561 N.E.2d 212, 148 Ill. Dec. 906.
The very nature of personal injury cases makes it impossible to establish a precise formula to determine whether a particular award is excessive or inadequate. ( McMahon v. Richard Gorazd, Inc. (1985), 135 Ill. App. 3d 211, 481 N.E.2d 787, 89 Ill. Dec. 944.) The determination of the adequacyof the verdict is peculiarly within the province of the jury, and great weight is given to the jury's decision. ( McMahon, 135 Ill. App. 3d 211, 481 N.E.2d 787, 89 Ill. Dec. 944.) When reviewing a question as to the adequacy of ...