Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the 103rd District Court of Cameron County,
Justices Benavides, Longoria, and Hinojosa.
L. LONGORIA, JUSTICE.
Ana Villa sued appellee Felicia Martinez for injuries she
sustained in a car collision. A jury found both Villa and
Martinez 50% at fault for the car accident; however, the jury
awarded no damages to Villa. By one issue, Villa argues that
the trial court erred by signing a take-nothing judgment on
her claims when she presented uncontroverted evidence of her
damages. We affirm.
sued Martinez for negligence after her vehicle collided with
Martinez's vehicle at an intersection in June of 2009.
The case proceeded to jury trial, at which the following
evidence was adduced.
testified that she immediately felt pain in her neck and that
she started experiencing a severe headache. She further
testified that she could not move her head and went into an
asthmatic attack because she could not move to find her
inhaler. Villa also testified that she saw a chiropractor
because her hands and feet were numb after the accident and
because she felt a burning sensation in her back. Villa was
attending dental assistant school before the accident. But
she testified that after the accident, she had to drop out of
the school because she was no longer able to handle the
dental instruments due to the tingling in her hands.
medical expert Dr. Juan Caquias opined that the accident
caused Villa to have a herniated center disc in her vertebrae
because there were several tiny bulges along Villa's
spine. He further opined that the medical treatment that she
received in the amount of $16, 567 was necessary and
reasonable to treat her injuries. According to Martinez's
opening statement, her trial strategy involved conceding that
Villa was injured. But Martinez insisted that the accident
was Villa's fault and "[w]e don't think she was
injured as badly as perhaps [Villa's counsel] would like
you to be believe." Thus, Martinez asserted that Villa
should not recover any damages because her injuries were
minor and the accident was Villa's fault.
jury found that both Martinez and Villa were 50% at fault for
the collision and awarded Villa zero damages. Villa moved for
judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Martinez moved for
judgment on the verdict. The trial court granted
Martinez's motion and entered a take-nothing judgment for
Villa. This appeal followed.
Factual Sufficiency of Zero Damages
appeal, Villa argues that the trial court erred by entering a
take-nothing judgment because the facts of her injuries were
uncontroverted at trial. We construe this argument as a
challenge to the factual sufficiency of the evidence.
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
reviewing a factual-sufficiency challenge to a jury finding
on an issue on which the appellant had the burden of proof,
the appellant must show that the adverse finding is against
the great weight and preponderance of the evidence."
Editorial Caballero, S.A. de C.V. v. Playboy Enterprises,
Inc., 359 S.W.3d 318, 329 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi
2012, pet. denied) (citing Dow Chem. Co. v. Francis,
46 S.W.3d 237, 242 (Tex. 2001)). Appellate courts must weigh
all the evidence, including evidence that supports the
judgment and evidence that undermines the judgment. See
Editorial Caballero, 359 S.W.3d at 329. The jury is the
"sole judge" of the credibility of the witnesses;
the jury may freely choose to believe one witness over
another. See id. We will only set aside the verdict
if the evidence is so weak or if the judgment is so against
the great weight and preponderance of the evidence as to make
the verdict "clearly wrong and unjust."
Dow, 46 S.W.3d at 242; see Blevins v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 02-17-00276-CV, 2018 WL
5993445, at *8 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Nov. 15, 2018, no pet.
h.) ("The amount of evidence needed to show that
factually sufficient evidence supports a jury
finding is 'far less' than the amount needed to
conclude that a finding is so contrary to the overwhelming
weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and
a finding of zero damages is against the great weight and
preponderance of the evidence can be influenced ...