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Larkin v. George

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

October 31, 2016

JOHN LARKIN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KEVIN BOYD GEORGE, Defendant-Appellee.

          Rule 23 order filed August 30, 2016

          Rule 23 order withdrawn October 21, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 12-L-002306; the Hon. Ronald F. Bartkowicz, Judge, presiding.

         Affirmed.

          Stephen Le Brocq, of Law Offices of Stephen Le Brocq, of Dallas, Texas, for appellant.

          Bruce Farrel, of Dorn & Associates, of Chicago, for appellee.

          Panel JUSTICE SIMON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Pierce and Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          SIMON JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Plaintiff John Larkin filed an action for negligence against defendant Kevin Boyd George as a result of a multi-car accident. Defendant admitted that he drove negligently, and the remaining issues at trial were the nature and the extent of plaintiff's injuries and whether those injuries were proximately caused by defendant's negligent driving. Following a jury trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of defendant. Plaintiff appeals that verdict arguing that (1) the trial court erred in ruling that defendant did not violate the court's previous order regarding plaintiff's motion in limine, (2) the jury's verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence, and (3) the trial court failed to properly instruct the jury to not engage in their own independent investigation.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On January 27, 2011, plaintiff was driving his motor vehicle southbound on Interstate 294 near mile post 39 when he was involved in a multi-car accident. Defendant's vehicle contacted the rear of the vehicle driven by a nonparty. The nonparty then contacted the rear of the vehicle operated by plaintiff. Plaintiff's vehicle then contacted the rear of a vehicle driven by another nonparty.

         ¶ 4 On March 1, 2012, plaintiff filed his complaint against defendant alleging that he suffered numerous injuries as a result of defendant's negligent driving. Prior to trial, plaintiff filed a motion in limine asking the court to bar defendant from presenting testimony and photographs depicting damages sustained by the vehicles involved in the underlying motor vehicle accident. The trial court limited the use of the photographs to show the "point of impact" and not the extent of damages.

         ¶ 5 At trial, investigating trooper John Oreskovich testified that he was on the scene for at least 45 minutes investigating the accident. He stated that his report reflected that plaintiff made no complaints of pain or discomfort at the accident scene. He prepared a no injury code police report indicating that both from his personal observations and from plaintiff's reporting there were no complaints of pain or discomfort at the scene. Defendant testified that, on the day of the accident, plaintiff was in no observable pain or discomfort and that plaintiff made no complaints to him of his left foot or ankle discomfort at the accident scene.

         ¶ 6 Plaintiff testified that he went to an urgent care center the day after the accident due to discomfort in his left ankle. Approximately a month later he saw an orthopedic surgeon who performed an ankle surgical procedure. Subsequently, plaintiff underwent a second surgical procedure performed by another surgeon. Plaintiff reported continuing pain and discomfort in his left foot up until the time of trial and testified about his inability to participate in family activities, such as golfing, and playing ...


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