Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jasper County. No. 01-L-2 Honorable Steven P. Seymour, Judge, presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hopkins
After a trial involving the Illinois Domestic Animals Running at Large Act (510 ILCS 55/1 et seq. (West 2000)), the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Lloyd Galloway, and against the defendants, Raymond Kuhl, Kuhl Farms, Mike Kuhl, Fred Kuhl, John Kuhl, and Henry Kuhl, and reduced the plaintiff's damages by 50% for the plaintiff's comparative negligence. Although the jury awarded the plaintiff damages for disfigurement and pain and suffering, it failed to award damages for the plaintiff's medical expenses. After the parties filed posttrial motions, the trial court determined that the jury's award was irreconcilably inconsistent, and upon the defendants' request, the trial court entered an additur for the plaintiff's claimed medical expenses, reduced by half for the plaintiff's comparative negligence.
On appeal, the plaintiff asserts that the trial court improperly allowed the jury to consider the plaintiff's comparative negligence. On cross-appeal, the defendants assert that the trial court improperly determined that the jury's verdict was inconsistent.
On February 6, 2001, the plaintiff filed his complaint against the defendants, alleging that the defendants' cattle had strayed onto the highway, in violation of the Illinois Domestic Animals Running at Large Act (510 ILCS 55/1 et seq. (West 2000)), and collided with the plaintiff's vehicle, causing him injury. On May 18, 2001, the defendants filed their answer, asserting, as an affirmative defense, that the plaintiff had negligently operated his vehicle. On June 7, 2001, the plaintiff filed a motion to strike the defendants' affirmative defenses, which the trial court denied. Over the plaintiff's objections at the trial, the trial court instructed the jury concerning the plaintiff's comparative negligence.
At the trial, the plaintiff testified to the following:
"Q. And I ask you if this is a correct summary of all of your medical bills?
A. Like I [said] before, I never saw any of my medical bills.
Q. They are all paid for?
Q. Is this the full amount [$18,501.49] that you verify as accurate as to what ...