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Emershaw-Andrieux v. Biddle

Supreme Court of Delaware

March 16, 2015

CHERYL EMERSHAW-ANDRIEUX, Plaintiff-Below, Appellant,
v.
JEFFREY S. BIDDLE and STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INS. CO., Defendants-Below, Appellees.

Submitted: February 25, 2015.

Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for Sussex County C.A. No. S12C-03-009 THG.

Before HOLLAND, VALIHURA, and VAUGHN, Justices.

ORDER

Randy J. Holland, Justice.

This 16th day of March 2015, it appears to the Court that:

(1) Plaintiff-Below/Appellant Cheryl Emershaw-Andrieux ("Emershaw") appeals from a final judgment of the Superior Court that was entered in favor of the Defendants-Below/Appellees Jeffrey S. Biddle ("Biddle") and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm").

(2) In this appeal, Emershaw contends that the trial court erred when it denied her motion for a new trial. In support of that contention, Emershaw argues that the jury failed to follow the instructions provided by the trial court and that the jury's verdict was against the great weight of the evidence. We have determined that the Superior Court properly denied Emershaw's motion for a new trial.

(3) On June 4, 2010, Emershaw was stopped in her vehicle at a red light, with her son in the passenger front seat, on Delaware Route 24 near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. While stopped behind Emershaw's vehicle at the red light, Biddle's vehicle came into contact with the rear of Emershaw's vehicle. Biddle contends his vehicle was pushed into Emershaw's vehicle as a result of an unknown/phantom vehicle hitting his vehicle from behind and pushing his vehicle into Emershaw's vehicle.

(4) Immediately after the accident, Emershaw and Biddle made a left turn and pulled over to make certain no one was injured and to exchange information. Biddle testified, at that time, he observed the driver of the phantom vehicle slow down, shrug his shoulders, and then drive away. The phantom vehicle was never identified.

(5) On March 8, 2012, Emershaw filed a complaint in the Delaware Superior Court against Biddle and Emershaw's uninsured motorist carrier, State Farm, which stands in the place of the unknown/phantom driver.

(6) At trial, Biddle testified that he was not at fault because the unknown/phantom driver pushed his vehicle into Emershaw's. Emershaw and her son testified that no other vehicles were involved in the accident. However, both Emershaw and her son testified they were looking forward and did not see the collision as it occurred. Emershaw's claim of injury was supported by one physician who examined her but had not treated her.

(7) The jury found Biddle's and the phantom vehicle's negligence to be zero percent each. The jury also found the amount of personal injury damages proximately caused by the accident to be zero.

(8) Emershaw filed a motion for a new trial. The trial judge denied the motion. This is Emershaw's appeal from that decision.

(9) The standard of review for new trial motions in the Superior Court and in this Court was set forth in ...


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