Barksdale v. Harris

In Barksdale v. Harris, 30 Conn. App. 754, 622 A.2d 597, cert. denied, 225 Conn. 927, 625 A.2d 825 (1993), the plaintiff appealed from the judgment rendered after a jury verdict in favor of the defendant in an action for personal injuries resulting from an automobile accident. The plaintiff thereafter filed a motion to set aside the verdict, which was denied. Id. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on the issue of proximate cause by repeatedly using the words "'the proximate cause,'" instead of "'a proximate cause.'" Id. Although a proper jury interrogatory on the issue of proximate cause had been submitted, the court, with rare exception, referred to "the proximate cause" throughout the charge and the supplemental charge. Id. at at 757-58. That, the plaintiff argued, and we agreed, could have misled the jurors into believing that the defendant's negligence had to be the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries before the jurors could find the defendant liable. Id.