Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 150th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2015CI00537 Honorable Renée Yanta, Judge
Sitting: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice, Luz Elena D. Chapa,
Justice Irene Rios, Justice
ELENA D. CHAPA, JUSTICE
Scott Curtin seeks to set aside a jury's verdict awarding
him damages in his negligence suit against appellees. Curtin
argues that in light of the evidence at trial, the jury's
damages findings are clearly wrong and manifestly unjust. He
also argues the trial court erred by submitting a mitigation
instruction and a question regarding his proportionate
responsibility. Concluding the trial court did not err, and
deferring to the jury's reasonable credibility
determinations, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
a personal injury case arising out of a car accident. Curtin
was driving westbound in the leftmost lane on Interstate 410
in San Antonio. Laureen Poindexter was driving at least three
to four car-lengths ahead in the next lane over to the right.
A third driver was driving in the lane to the right of
to Poindexter, the third driver veered left into her lane.
Poindexter started to move her car to the left to avoid
hitting the car, but the third driver's car hit the right
front side of Poindexter's car. Poindexter turned sharply
to her left into Curtin's lane, losing control of her
car. Poindexter's car spun around one hundred eighty
degrees and collided with the median to Curtin's left.
Curtin's car collided with Poindexter's car. Curtin
saw Poindexter's car and the third driver's car come
into close proximity and then collide, but Curtin did not
apply his brakes until his car collided with Poindexter's
and Poindexter waited on the scene until San Antonio Police
Department officer Roland Rodriguez arrived. Curtin and
Poindexter had no observable physical injuries after the
accident, and both refused emergency medical treatment. After
interviewing both Curtin and Poindexter, Officer Rodriguez
determined Poindexter was solely at fault. Officer Rodriguez
opined there was nothing Curtin could have done to avoid the
accident. When the accident occurred, Poindexter was acting
in the course and scope of her employment with Luke Casillas,
LLC, d/b/a "Dents N Dings," and Curtin was a senior
at the University of the Incarnate Word.
sued Poindexter for negligently operating her vehicle. He
also sued Dents N Dings, alleging vicarious liability for
Poindexter's negligence and direct liability for
negligent entrustment, hiring, training, and retention.
Poindexter and Dents N Dings generally denied Curtin's
allegations, and alleged Curtin was proportionately
responsible and that he failed to mitigate his damages.
case proceeded to a jury trial, and the parties heavily
disputed whether Curtin suffered a spinal injury as a result
of the accident. Both sides presented the testimony of expert
witnesses who testified about the existence and extent of
Curtin's injuries. After the parties presented closing
arguments, the jury found both Poindexter's and
Curtin's negligence proximately caused Curtin's
damages, but found Dents N Dings not liable for negligence.
jury also found Poindexter 60% responsible and Curtin 40%
responsible and that $12, 500 would fairly and reasonably
compensate Curtin for his past medical expenses. The jury
found $0 in damages for Curtin's future medical expenses
and past and future physical impairment and pain and mental
anguish. Applying the jury's findings, the trial court
rendered judgment awarding Curtin $7, 500.00 in damages,
interest, and costs. Curtin appealed.
RESPONSIBILITY & PERCENTAGE OF RESPONSIBILITY
argues there is legally and factually insufficient evidence
to support the jury's findings that his negligence
proximately caused the accident and that he was 40%
responsible. Curtin bases his challenges to both of these
findings on the same arguments, and challenges the percentage
of responsibility findings separately only "in an
abundance of caution." We therefore address both issues
Standard of Review
a party attacks the legal sufficiency of an adverse finding
on an issue on which it did not have the burden of proof, it
must demonstrate on appeal that no evidence supports the
adverse finding." Cotter & Sons, Inc. v. BJ
Corp., No. 04-16-00186-CV, 2017 WL 4801679, at *7 (Tex.
App.-San Antonio Oct. 25, 2017, pet. filed) (op. on
reh'g) (quoting Graham Cent. Station, Inc. v.
Pena, 442 S.W.3d 261, 263 (Tex. 2014) (per curiam)).
"We review the evidence in the light most favorable to
the verdict, 'credit[ing] favorable evidence if
reasonable jurors could, and disregard[ing] ...