An Olney man injured in a vehicle collision in 2011 has elected to accept a drastically reduced damages award rather than challenge the reduction or have a new trial after a judge ruled last month that the jury’s award “shocked the conscience.”
Jeremy R. Iocozzia received a $1.8 million award after a five-week jury trial in Prince George’s County over the summer, but defendant Brett Lee Lease filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and motion for a new trial, arguing the award was not supported by the evidence.
Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. agreed and offered Iocozzia a choice: remit the portion of the verdict that exceeds $350,000 or have a new trial on damages. Iocozzia also had the option to appeal the judge’s decision.
Nichols determined the proper award was $150,000 for medical costs and $200,000 for pain and suffering.
Defense attorney Ugo Colella, of Duane Morris LLP in Washington, said Monday that Iocozzia has agreed to remit the bulk of the award and accept the $350,000.
Iocozzia was 19 years old in November 2011 when he was driving one of six vehicles involved in a crash as police stopped traffic on I-70 in Frederick County. Iocozzia was in the eastbound lanes when a van driven by Lease rear-ended another car and then struck Iocozzia’s car.
Iocozzia had a preexisting back injury and did not prove the accident exacerbated it, according to Nichols, and his claims of lost past and future wages were not supported by the evidence. The judge found Iocozzia’a grades, lack of higher education pursuits and unemployment justify reducing the award.
The case is Jeremy R. Iocozzia v. Brett Lee Lease, et al., CAL14-14496.