Woman injured in "sideswipe" loses appeal of jury verdict that she wasn't injured
Josephine Leleniewski was a passenger in an ambulance that was "sideswiped" by another car. She sued Amerisure Company and the at-fault driver for various damages owed by the respective defendants. At trial, the jury concluded that her neck and back pain were not suffered in the "sideswipe" collision and did not award her any damages. She appealed, arguing that her case was unduly prejudiced by the improper admission of evidence.In a classic example of the axiom that "bad cases make bad law," the Court of Appeals ruled that it was not error to admit prior evidence of drug use by the plaintiff, evidence of minimal damage to the vehicles, and failure to file tax returns. Prior cases have held that each of these items of evidence may not be properly admitted if they would result in "unfair prejudice." Nevertheless, admission of evidence is normally within the broad discretion of the trial judge, and this discretion will not be overturned if the reviewing judges think the disputed evidence did not determine the outcome.