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Thompson v. Avila, 42 Fla. L. Weekly D749e (Fla. 5th DCA Mar. 31, 2017) involved a jury verdict that awarded excessive non-economic damages for future pain and suffering. Alvaro Avila was awarded $1.9 million dollars in his negligence case against Mark Thompson. Seventy percent, or $1,330,000, of the verdict was comprised of damages for future pain and suffering.

The trial court issued a remittitur of the non-economic damages by reducing the amount to $250,000. Neither Avila nor Thompson accepted this reduction and a new trial on the issue of future pain and suffering was granted. Thompson appealed and the trial court's ruling was per curiam affirmed; however, Senior Judge Jacobus issued a written dissent.

In dissenting, Judge Jacobus cited to Rety v. Green, 546 So. 2d 410 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989) for the proposition that juries have wide latitude to award damages and Bould v. Touchette, 349 So. 2d 1181 (Fla. 1977) for the idea that a verdict is not necessarily excessive because it is greater than the amount the trial court believes the jury should have awarded. Based on these rationales, Judge Jacobus would have reversed the order granting a new trial, remanded the case to the trial court and reinstated the original verdict.

 


This summary was prepared by Julie Herzlich of our firm.


Julie Herzlich

 

 

42 Fla. L. Weekly D749e

 

Torts -- Damages -- Future pain and suffering -- Refusal to accept remittitur of damages awarded by jury -- New trial

MARK G. THOMPSON, Appellant/Cross Appellee, v. ALVARO E. AVILA, Appellee/Cross Appellant. 5th District. Case No. 5D15-2152. Decision filed March 31, 2017. Appeal from the Circuit Court for Orange County, Janet C. Thorpe, Judge. Counsel: Caryn L. Bellus, and Barbara E. Fox, of Kubicki Draper, P.A., Miami, for Appellant/Cross Appellee. Ramsey Smathers of the Law Offices of Ramsey Smathers, P.A., Winter Park, Shea T. Moxon, of Brannock & Humphries, Tampa, and Michael V. Barszcz, of Law Offices of Michael V. Barszcz, M.D., J.D., Winter Park, for Appellee/Cross Appellant.

(PER CURIAM.) AFFIRMED. (EVANDER and EDWARDS, JJ., concur. JACOBUS, B.W., Senior Judge, dissents with opinion.)
__________________

(JACOBUS, B.W., Senior Judge, dissenting.) This case is before us on an appeal from a negligence case in which Appellee, Alvaro Avila, obtained a verdict for $1.9 million. The verdict included $1,330,385.90 for future pain and suffering. The trial court issued a remittitur of the future pain and suffering damages by reducing the amount to $250,000. The remittitur was not accepted by either party. Accordingly, the trial court granted a new trial on the issue of future pain and suffering damages. The majority affirms the ruling by the order for a new trial on non-economic damages. I would reverse and remand for reinstatement of the verdict. The jury heard all the testimony regarding Appellee, Mr. Avila, and determined that his damages were $1.9 million, including the amount they found for future pain and suffering. A jury has wide latitude on the determination of damages. Rety v. Green, 546 So. 2d 410 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989). Unless there is something that influences the jury outside the record, in my view, this verdict should stand. See Arab Termite & Pest Control, Inc. v. Jenkins, 409 So. 2d 1039 (Fla. 1982). The amount of damages in a civil case are well within the province of the jury. A verdict is not necessarily excessive because it is above the amount the court considered a jury should have allowed. Bould v. Touchette, 349 So. 2d 1181 (Fla. 1977). "The verdict should not be disturbed unless it is so inordinately large as obviously to exceed the maximum limit of a reasonable range within which the jury may properly operate." Id. at 1184.

I would reverse the order granting a new trial and remand to the trial court to reinstate the jury verdict.







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