In a medical malpractice case, the Fourth Department reversed Supreme Court’s setting aside the jury verdict which found the negligence of one defendant (Caputo) was not a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s injuries. In addition, over a dissent, the Fourth Department found the use of juror affidavits to correct a mistake in the verdict was proper. The Fourth Department wrote:
“A verdict finding that a defendant was negligent but that such negligence was not a proximate cause of the [plaintiff’s injuries] is against the weight of the evidence only when [those] issues are so inextricably interwoven as to make it logically impossible to find negligence without also finding proximate cause”…. “Where 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” … . Here, plaintiffs alleged four different theories of negligence against Dr. Caputo, and we conclude that there is a reasonable view of the evidence to support a finding that Dr. Caputo was negligent in failing to provide [the] resident staff with adequate information concerning the operative procedure and plaintiff’s postoperative care, but that such failures were not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries… .
…[T]he court properly granted plaintiffs’ “supplemental motion” to correct the verdict with respect to the award of damages for plaintiff’s future pain and suffering. In support of the “supplemental motion,” plaintiffs submitted affidavits from all six jurors, who averred that they understood and agreed that plaintiff would receive $60,000 per year for a period of 30 years, not a total of $60,000 over the course of that period…. We acknowledge that “public policy concerns disfavor the use of juror affidavits for posttrial impeachment of a verdict” … . Here, however, “[t]he information afforded by the affidavits of the jurors is not to impeach, but to support the verdict really given by them”… . Butterfield v Caputo, et a;l, 602, 4th Dept 7-19-13