and Bush (Sim & Record, LLP, Bayside, NY [Sang J. Sim],
of counsel), for appellants.
Litchfield Cavo LLP (Vigorito, Barker, Porter &
Patterson, LLP, Valhalla, NY [Jerry Giardina], of counsel),
E. CHAMBERS, J.P., ROBERT J. MILLER, COLLEEN D. DUFFY,
FRANCESCA E. CONNOLLY, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
action to recover damages for personal injuries, etc., the
plaintiffs appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court,
Richmond County (Dollard, J.), dated August 12, 2015, which,
upon a jury verdict in favor of the defendants on the issue
of liability, and upon the denial of their motion, in effect,
pursuant to CPLR 4404(a) to set aside the jury verdict and
for judgment as a matter of law, or, in the alternative, to
set aside the verdict as contrary to the weight of the
evidence and for a new trial, is in favor of the defendants
and against them, in effect, dismissing the complaint.
that the judgment is affirmed, with costs.
action arises out of a collision that occurred on December
16, 2011, on Nicholas Avenue in Staten Island, between a box
truck operated by the defendant Jose Carrera, an employee of
the defendant Ranchers Best Wholesale Meats, Inc., and a
vehicle operated by the plaintiff Tanza Kirkland.
trial on the issue of liability, Kirkland testified that
Carrera backed into her vehicle. While Carrera did not
dispute that he had been backing up prior to the accident, he
testified that, upon seeing Kirkland's vehicle
approaching in his right side-view mirror, he brought his
truck to a full stop in anticipation of Kirkland passing him,
and Kirkland caused the accident by attempting to drive
around his stopped truck.
jury found that Carrera was not negligent, and the plaintiffs
moved, in effect, pursuant to CPLR 4404(a) to set aside the
jury verdict. The Supreme Court denied the motion and entered
judgment in favor of the defendants and against the
plaintiffs, in effect, dismissing the complaint. The
plaintiffs appeal, contending that the verdict should be set
aside and either a directed verdict should be entered in
their favor or the matter should be remitted for a new trial
on the ground that the verdict is contrary to the weight of
setting aside of a jury verdict as a matter of law and the
setting aside of a jury verdict as contrary to the weight of
the evidence involve two inquiries and two different
standards" (Ramirez v Mezzacappa, 121 A.D.3d
770, 772, citing Cohen v Hallmark Cards, 45 N.Y.2d
493, 498). In order to find that a jury verdict is not
supported by sufficient evidence as a matter of law, there
must be "no valid line of reasoning and permissible
inferences which could possibly lead rational [people] to the
conclusion reached by the jury on the basis of the evidence
presented at trial" (Cohen v Hallmark Cards, 45
N.Y.2d at 499). By contrast, "[t]he criteria for setting
aside a jury verdict as against the weight of the evidence
are necessarily less stringent" (Nicastro v
Park, 113 A.D.2d 129, 132-133). Thus, "[a] jury
verdict in favor of a defendant should not be set aside as
against the weight of the evidence unless the evidence
preponderates so heavily in the plaintiff's favor that
the verdict could not have been reached on any fair
interpretation of the evidence" (Cedeno v
McNulty, 39 A.D.3d 683, 683; see Wilson v County of
Westchester, 148 A.D.3d 1091, 1091; Scalogna v
Osipov, 117 A.D.3d 934, 935). When a verdict can be
reconciled with a reasonable view of the evidence, the
successful party is entitled to the presumption that the jury
adopted that view (see Scalogna v Osipov, 117 A.D.3d
reviewing the whole trial to ascertain whether the conclusion
was a fair reflection of the evidence, great deference must
be given to the fact-finding function of the jury"
(Nicastro v Park, 113 A.D.2d at 136). It is within
the jury's province to make credibility determinations,
and to accept or reject some or all of the parties'
testimony and weigh any conflicting inferences (see
Wilson v County of Westchester, 148 A.D.3d at 1091;
Scalogna v Osipov, 117 A.D.3d at 935).
these principles here, contrary to the plaintiffs'
contention, there is no basis to overturn the jury's
verdict. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to
the defendants (see Szczerbiak v Pilat, 90 N.Y.2d
553, 556; Hammond v Diaz, 82 A.D.3d 839, 840), we
conclude that a valid line of reasoning and permissible
inferences could lead rational people to the conclusion
reached by the jury herein. Moreover, based on the evidence
submitted to the jury, its determination that Carrera was not
negligent in the happening of the accident is supported by a
fair interpretation of the evidence (see Cedeno v
McNulty, 39 A.D.3d at 683; Nicastro v Park, 113
A.D.2d at 134).
the judgment must be affirmed.
CHAMBERS, J.P., MILLER, DUFFY and ...