Green v. Grant, 91-CA-01020

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Citation641 So.2d 1203
PartiesGloria J. GREEN v. Mary B. GRANT.
Docket NumberNo. 91-CA-01020,91-CA-01020
Decision Date18 August 1994

Page 1203

641 So.2d 1203
Gloria J. GREEN
Mary B. GRANT.
No. 91-CA-01020.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
Aug. 18, 1994.

Page 1204

Leslie D. King, Greenville, for appellant.

Joseph L. McCoy, Diane V. Brantley, McCoy Wilkins Stephens & Tipton, Jackson, for appellee.

Before PRATHER, P.J., and BANKS and SMITH, JJ.

PRATHER, Presiding Justice, for the Court:


This case is appealed from the Circuit Court of Hinds County, Mississippi, First Judicial District. After a trial on the issue of damages resulting from a automobile accident involving the Appellant, Gloria J. Green (Green) and the Appellee, Mary B. Grant (Grant), the jury awarded Green damages in the amount of $2,000.00. Thereafter, Green filed a Motion for New Trial, or Alternately, for Additur which was subsequently denied by the circuit judge. Following the denial of this motion, Green filed her Notice of Appeal to this Court assigning as error the following:



The facts of this case originated in an automobile accident involving Green and Grant at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Prentiss Street in Jackson, Mississippi, on the afternoon of April 17, 1989. Thereafter, on April 9, 1990, Green filed a Complaint against Grant, alleging that it was negligence on the part of Grant that caused the accident and praying for damages that she claims she suffered as a result of that accident. Grant admitted liability for the accident and on July 19, 1990, the circuit judge entered a judgment on the issue of liability in favor of Green and against Grant. A trial on the issue of damages was held in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County on July 2, 1991. At trial Green presented testimony as to the amount of damages that she had suffered as a result of the accident while Grant introduced evidence refuting the necessity and reasonableness of the amounts claimed by Green.

Prior to the testimony of any witnesses, the parties stipulated that Green incurred $2,118.25 in medical expenses, however, Grant did not stipulate that these expenses were necessary. The first witness to testify was the Appellant, Green. Green is employed by the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services and serves as the director of the Disability Determination Service. However, at the time of the accident she was employed as a special assistant attorney general with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office.

Green testified that she was involved in an automobile accident with Grant at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Prentiss Street in Jackson, Mississippi. As a result of this accident Green said she suffered injuries to her head, right knee, shoulders, neck, and

Page 1205

upper and lower back. Green stated that when she got out of her car following the accident she had a pain in her head and her knee was aching. She testified that after the accident, she, Grant, and another person walked from the cars to the end of the corner to look for a police officer. Also, following the accident, Green drove her car back to her office to call and cancel her afternoon appointments. She also telephoned a friend and sorority sister, Barbara Hamilton, to tell her about the accident. Hamilton encouraged her to go to the emergency room and have someone check her for injuries. Hamilton then picked Green up and took her to the emergency room at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center (MBMC). Green was treated at the emergency room by Dr. William P. Burk. Green testified that on the morning following the accident she began to feel stiffness in her neck, shoulders, and back.

The next week Green went to see Dr. Earnest Rankin. She was referred to Dr. Rankin by her lawyer. However, she stated that her lawyer referred her to a doctor because she was not from Jackson and did not know which doctor to contact. She went to see Dr. Rankin because her knee was still swollen and sore, she was experiencing headaches, and she would sometimes feel nauseated and dizzy. Green returned to MBMC on July 16, 1989, because of headaches that she was experiencing.

Green stated that she continues to have knee problems "off and on," especially when she is in a rush. She said her headaches are infrequent, but her lower back does hurt occasionally. Green said that she last took any pain medication for these injuries in December of 1989. Green described her health prior to the accident as "excellent." She said that she only went to the doctor for yearly check-ups and that she did not experience headaches prior to the accident. Also, both Green and Hamilton testified that before the accident Green exercised quite a bit, but has been unable to do so since the accident.

Green testified to the following medical expenses that she claims she incurred as a result of this accident:

Dr. Earnest Rankin $ 685.00

Dr. Edward James 175.00

Healthsouth Rehabilitation 500.00

MBMC 353.25

St. Dominic Hospital 250.00

Lakeland Radiologists, P.A. 190.00

Radiological Group 46.00


TOTAL $2,199.25

(However, the parties stipulated that her medical expenses were $2,118.25.)

In addition to these medical expenses, Green testified that from April, 1989, through September, 1989, she was forced to miss 76 hours of work as a direct result of her injuries. By virtue of missing these 76 hours of work, she lost $1,330.58.

Sarah DeLoach also testified on behalf of Green. DeLoach was Green's supervisor at the Attorney General's Office. DeLoach described Green as a "very conscientious worker" who did not miss very much work at all. DeLoach testified that after the accident the pain bothered Green and she was unable to concentrate like she wanted. Also, DeLoach agreed that following the accident Green did not function as efficiently as she previously had. Further, DeLoach stated that as far as she knew, the days that Green took off from work were attributable to her injuries.

Dr. Earnest Rankin, who treated Green from April, 1989, until September, 1989, also testified on Green's behalf. He first examined Green in his office on April 21, 1989. He then saw Green on seven (7) subsequent occasions. On initial examination, he found that she had soreness over her forehead on direct pressure, however, there was no indication of broken bones in the skull. He saw no changes in her eyes that would be consistent with a hemorrhage or increased intracranial pressure. However, he did find a number of muscle spasms and soreness in her neck muscles. Also, when Green tried to turn her head to the side she would experience an increase of pain in the neck area. He found soreness in the muscle surrounding the neck and the upper part of her back. In addition, she suffered discomfort when she tried to elevate her arm above the shoulder level. Green also experienced soreness and tenderness in her right knee. However, Dr. Rankin found no evidence of neurological injury or muscle wasting. He treated Green

Page 1206

with a muscle relaxer tablet, a narcotic analgesic for her headache, and a heating pad. Dr. Rankin testified that injuries such as Green's are in many instances painful. He also said that with some patients these injuries are quick to heal and with some patients they are not. Dr. Rankin stated that because of persistent pain in her knee, he referred Green to Dr. Edward James, an orthopedic specialist. Dr. Rankin testified that Dr. James evaluated Green from June through September of 1989. Dr. James ordered a CT Scan on Green's right knee. The results of this scan were normal.

Dr. Rankin also testified that in his opinion, Green has developed a type of traumatic arthritis as a result of the trauma suffered in the accident. He said this condition will progress and get worse and that traumatic arthritis is just as painful as any other type of arthritis.

Following Green's office visit of September 29, 1989, Dr. Rankin wrote Green's attorney a report dated October 16, 1989. In this report, Dr. Rankin wrote that Green's right knee pain had subsided and that she was walking normally without any limp or unstable gait. His report stated that her right knee was "non-swollen" and "non-tender." He also wrote that her right knee showed a normal range of motion without any restriction. He advised Green to resume her normal activities and did not place any restrictions on her activities. He also told Green to return to his office if she felt the need. Green did not return to his office in 1989 after her September 29, 1989 visit. She did not return at all in 1990 and she did not return in 1991 until June 20, 1991, which was approximately two weeks before this trial. She returned on this occasion complaining of pain in her right knee.

Dr. Rankin testified that, in his professional opinion, Green's injuries were caused by the trauma that she sustained in the accident. Finally, Dr. Rankin testified that all of the treatments prescribed by him were reasonable and necessary and that all of the treatments provided by Dr. James were necessary and as far as he knew they were reasonable.

Grant testified on her own behalf at trial and in her testimony she again acknowledged that the accident was her fault. At the time of the accident, Grant had two of her children in the car with her. Grant testified that immediately after the accident Green checked on them and then went to try to find a police officer. Grant testified that she and Green stood in the street and talked until the police arrived and she never heard Green complain about anything. Grant said that no ambulance ever came to the...

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