TORTS (MVRA, Threshhold verdict) EVIDENCE (police officers non-expert opinions on weather, property damage not accident reconstruction)Price v. Garcia (COA 8/7/2009)

Price v. Garcia
2007-CA-001344 8/7/09 2009 WL 2408156

Opinion by Judge Nickell; Judge VanMeter and Senior Judge Graves concurred.

The Court affirmed a judgment of the circuit court dismissing appellants’ personal injury claims with prejudice following a jury verdict finding that appellants had not incurred $1,000.00 in reasonably necessary medical expenses required for recovery under KRS 349.39-060(2)(b). The Court held that the trial court properly admitted three items of testimony from the investigating officer who was neither listed nor qualified as an expert witness and even so, any error was harmless as the challenged testimony bore on fault, an issue not reached by the jury. In doing so the Court held that the issues were preserved for appeal because the circuit court ruled during trial on the issues advanced on appeal. The Court then held that 1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting the officer to testify about the weather conditions the night of the accident as the facts were well within her perception at the scene; 2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the officer’s testimony in allowing cumulative testimony which was nothing more than an oral description of the damage depicted in photos of the accident scene and not accident reconstruction testimony; and 3) that the officer’s testimony about carrying a child from the car involved in the accident was harmless, as it related to the issue of fault, which was not reached by the jury.

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