SANDRA S. LLOYD AND ROBERT LLOYD
KEVIN J. BELL AND CLARENCE D. BELL, JR., APPEAL OF: KEVIN J. BELL SANDRA S. LLOYD AND ROBERT LLOYD Appellants
KEVIN J. BELL AND CLARENCE D. BELL, JR., Appellees
Appeal from the Order Entered February 11, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County Civil Division at No. 11-02039
BEFORE: BENDER, P.J., LAZARUS, J. AND FITZGERALD [*] , J.
Kevin J. Bell (Bell) appeals from the order entered on February 11, 2013, granting Sandra S. Lloyd (Lloyd) and Robert Lloyd a new trial in this negligence action. Lloyd cross-appeals. We reverse the order of the trial court, dismiss Lloyd's cross-appeal without prejudice, and remand, whereupon the parties may praecipe for the entry of judgment on the jury verdict.
On February 27, 2009, Lloyd was involved in a motor vehicle accident when Bell rear-ended the car Lloyd was driving. The parties dispute the force of impact. Lloyd's airbag did not deploy, and her car was driven from the scene of the accident. However, Lloyd subsequently testified that the car was totaled. Following the accident, Lloyd received treatment for neck and back pain. Thereafter, Lloyd and her husband initiated this action, asserting Lloyd suffered injuries in the accident.
A jury trial commenced. Bell admitted negligence at trial but disputed Lloyd's claim of injury, as Lloyd had an extensive, pre-accident medical history of back and neck problems.
The parties' medical experts agreed that there was no objective evidence that the accident exacerbated Lloyd's physical condition. However, Jeffrey Friedman, M.D., who testified on behalf of Lloyd, opined that Lloyd suffered from myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia. Dr. Friedman acknowledged that Lloyd's pain complaints were subjective, but he concluded that the accident had aggravated her condition.
Bell's medical expert, David Glaser, M.D., disputed Dr. Friedman's diagnosis, suggesting that Lloyd's symptoms were more appropriately explained by her pre-existing back and neck conditions. Notes of Testimony (N.T.), 10/2/12, at 71-72. Dr. Glaser also testified, in part, as follows:
Q: All right. Doctor, after the accident, you looked at a copy of the emergency department records, correct?
A: I did.
Q: Could you tell us about that?
A: The emergency room records basically documented I think what you all heard about, that she was driving, the car hit from behind, she came in hours later. It diagnosed her with having cervical sprain. Also mentioned the shoulder contusion. There was some bruising as well mentioned.
Id. at 60-61. Thereafter, Dr. Glaser acknowledged that the "scrapes or contusions" seen in the emergency room "maybe" were objective findings of injury." Id. at 68. Dr. Glaser summarized his conclusions in the following manner:
Q: Doctor, at the time you saw Mrs. Lloyd in 2012, do you have an opinion as to whether she was suffering from any accident related injury?
A: It was my opinion when I saw her she was not suffering from any accident related injury within medical certainty.
Q: Even though there was nothing objective that you saw, you leave open the possibility that plaintiff could have suffered an ...