Patricia Noyes-Corrigan Secures Jury Verdict for Defendant in Motor Vehicle-Bicycle Collision Case

Patricia Noyes-Corrigan secured a verdict for the Defendant in a motor vehicle-bicycle collision following a trial to a jury in the
Plymouth Superior Court. The basic facts of the case were that Plaintiff, then 68 years old, was riding his bicycle on Route 53 in
Duxbury, MA. He collided with the passenger side of the Defendant’s car and at the time was not wearing a bicycle helmet. The Defendant claimed that plaintiff rode his bicycle into the middle of the road and hit her car. Plaintiff conversely claimed that the Defendant had negligently operated her vehicle as he believed Defendant hit him with the mirror of her car. While there were no eyewitnesses, witnesses who came on the scene immediately following the collision observed the Plaintiff in the middle of the road. Plaintiff claimed he had suffered a traumatic brain injury with ongoing and worsening symptoms, including but not limited to memory loss and neurocognitive impairment, as well as a fractured clavicle. There was no claim for lost wages.

Of note, is that the trial judge ruled in pre-trial motions that evidence that Plaintiff was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision was admissible on the question of whether he had failed to mitigate his own damages as he is obligated to do, but not on the question of whether the Plaintiff was comparatively negligent in causing the collision. The judge gave the jury specific instructions on this issue, as well as an instruction on the sudden emergency doctrine.

At trial defendant’s expert, a neurologist, testified to a reasonable degree of neurological certainty that x-rays taken on the day of the collision demonstrated that Plaintiff had a pre-existing neurological condition, normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) and that the NPH, along with other co-morbid conditions, had caused Plaintiff’s complained of neurocognitive impairment, not the collision. He also opined that Plaintiff likely would not have suffered a mild brain injury which resolved in a few months if he had been wearing a bicycle helmet.

Plaintiffs asked the jury for $1,250,000.00 in damages, which if awarded would have been subject to additional interest of approximately 50%, as the case had been pending for nearly four and one-half years. Despite the potential exposure of an adverse verdict in the proximity of $2,000,000.00, no offers to settle the case during trial, or while the jury was in deliberations, were made.

The jury of 6, with 2 alternates who participated in deliberations, returned a verdict for the Defendant.

Case: Kevin Wilson and Anne Wilson v. Nicole M. Swain, Plymouth Superior Court No. 1883CV00601 before The Honorable Joseph F. Leighton, Jr. on November 15, 2022 – November 18, 2022.