Gross v. DaileyAnnotate this Case
Selanmin Gross appealed the grant of a new trial in a case filed by Christopher Dailey against Gross stemming from a motor-vehicle accident. Dailey alleged Gross' negligence and/or wantonness in operating his motor vehicle on August 5, 2019, had resulted in a collision with Dailey's motor vehicle and that Dailey had suffered physical, mental, and emotional injuries as a result of the accident. Dailey's action was consolidated with an action commenced by Ken Houston against Gross that stemmed from the same accident. The trial court dismissed Houston's action following the filing of a joint stipulation of dismissal. Trial proceeded on Dailey's claims. The trial court entered the jury-verdict forms into the record, which showed that the foreperson had signed both verdict forms. The first form simply stated: "We the jury find for the defendant" and had the date filled in by hand above a blank line labeled "Date" and the signature of the foreperson on a second blank line labeled "Foreman." The second verdict form stated: "We the jury find for the plaintiff, Christopher D. Dailey, and assess damages of $0 dollars." That form likewise had the date filled in by hand above a blank line labeled "Date" and the signature of the foreperson on a second blank line labeled "Foreman." Dailey moved for a new trial "Due to Inconsistent Verdict." Gross opposed it, noting that the trial judge announced a verdict for defendant in open court and had polled each juror and that each juror had confirmed the verdict for defendant. He argued that "the verdict was in no way inconsistent: the verdict form for the Plaintiff awarded zero (0) dollars in damages which is perfectly consistent with a verdict for the Defendant." The trial judge granted Dailey's motion. The Alabama Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred in concluding the second verdict form awarding zero dollars in damages to Dailey meant that the jury reached an inconsistent verdict. "The cases relied upon by the trial court do not support that conclusion, and the evidence concerning the verdict overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that the jury reached a verdict in favor of the defendant, Gross." Accordingly, the trial court's order granting a new trial is reversed, and the trial court was instructed to reinstate the verdict in favor of Gross and to enter a judgment on that verdict.