Kozlov v. Associated Wholesale Grocers, No. 15-1098 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs Kozlov and Tchikobava, employees of Albatross, were injured in a tractor-trailer driven by an employee of AWG. The employee, Michael Scott, was killed in the crash. Kozlov and Tchikobava both filed personal injury lawsuits against AWG and Scott's estate. Because both Kozlov's and Tchikobava's negligence was equal to or greater than AWG's negligence, plaintiffs were barred from recovery. Because the jury found Kozlov 84% at fault, he was barred from recovery. Kozlov's contributory negligence in the accident, according to the jury's sole discretion, was greater than AWG's negligence (8%). Similarly, Tchikobava's contributory negligence (8%) was equal to AWG's negligence, and thus, he was also barred from recovery. The court concluded that the jury's assessment of each party's negligence and the resulting damages are not clearly against the weight and reasonableness of the evidence; the district court properly instructed the jury on proximate cause and the instructions Tchikobava offered were inapposite; Tchikobava's argument regarding the noneconomic damage calculation was waived; even if the issue were properly preserved, the damages were adequate; Kozlov was not prejudiced by misleading jury instructions; the district court did not abuse its discretion in submitting factual issues regarding Kozlov's negligence regarding lights on the trailer, qualifications as a truck driver, and Tchikobava's negligence in failing to train or supervise; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in permitting defendant's expert to testify, denying Kozlov's motion for leave to amend, and excluding evidence of Scott's prior accident and his questionable health. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.