LaManna v. Proformance Ins. Co., 364 N.J. Super. 473, 837 A. 2d 384 (App. Div. 2003)

Practice Areas: Automobile Liability/UM/UIM

Plaintiff claimed to be injured when her vehicle was run off the Parkway by a phantom vehicle.  She made claim against her policy’s UIM provision.  The matter was arbitrated and the liabilty against the phantom was fixed at 100%.  The damage award was appealed and ultimately tried before a jury of eight.  The Judge instructed the jury that they would not have a verdict on any question submitted to them unless the vote was at least 6-2.  This was not objected to by either counsel.  As a general proposition a verdict must be rendered by 5/6ths of the jury panel.  Naturally, the no cause, no damages verdict here was rendered 6-2.  Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial was denied, the Apellate Division affirmed and the matter proceeded to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Again the trial verdict was affirmed as the High Court ruled that the statute which permits the partys to agree to a verdict which is less than the Constitutional mandate of 5/6ths was not unconstitutional, and the plaintiff had failed to object below.

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