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Malpica-Cue v. Fangmeier

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Second Division

April 6, 2017

Adrian Malpica-Cue, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Benjamin A. Fangmeier, Defendant-Appellant.

         City and County of Denver District Court No. 14CV34510 Honorable Elizabeth A. Starrs, Judge

          Marra Leavitt LLC, Marcie B. Leavitt, Arvada, Colorado, and Ramos Law, LLC, Jessica L. Derakhshanian, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee

          Hall & Evans, LLC, Alan Epstein, Denver, Colorado; Temple & Associates, Christopher J. Witte, Lone Tree, Colorado, for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          J. JONES JUDGE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Benjamin A. Fangmeier, appeals the district court's order denying his motion to decrease the amount of damages awarded at trial based on an affidavit from the jury foreman asserting that the jury entered a number by mistake on the special verdict form. Construing a 2007 amendment to CRE 606(b), we vacate the order and remand the case.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 Plaintiff, Adrian Malpica-Cue, sued Mr. Fangmeier for damages resulting from a car accident. After a trial, the jury filled out Special Verdict Form B, answering "Yes" to the following two questions: (1) "Did the Plaintiff, Adrian Malpica-Cue, have injuries, damages and losses?"; and (2) "Was the Defendant's negligence a cause of any of the injuries, damages and losses claimed by the Plaintiff?" The jury then answered questions concerning damages as follows:

a) What is the total amount of the Plaintiff's damages, if any, for non-economic losses or injuries? Non-economic losses or injuries are those losses or injuries described in paragraph 1 of Instruction 10. You should answer "0" if you determine there were none.
ANSWER: $2, 500.00
b)What is the total amount of the Plaintiff's damages, if any, for economic losses? Economic losses are those losses described in numbered paragraph 2 of Instruction No. 10. You should answer "0" if you determine there were none.
ANSWER $18, 373.38
c) What is the total amount of the Plaintiff's damages, if any, for physical impairment or disfigurement? In computing damages in this category, you shall not include any damages for losses or injuries already determined above. You should answer "0" if you determine there were none.
ANSWER: $20, 873.38

         ¶ 3 Each of the six jurors signed the special verdict form. The trial judge read the verdict, and each separate amount of damages, aloud in open court. The judge then asked the jury, "Was this and is this your verdict?" The jury foreman replied, "Yes, it is." The judge then asked, "Would any of the lawyers - would either of the parties want me to poll the jury?" Both Mr. ...


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