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Gunn v. Robertson FACTS: The Plaintiff Sought General Damages Plus

Gunn v. Robertson FACTS: The Plaintiff Sought General Damages Plus

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Published by: Ghost1L on Oct 28, 2009
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12/18/2012

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Gunn v. RobertsonFACTS:
The plaintiff sought general damages plus past and future medicals and wages, and lossof earning capacity arising from an automobile accident with the defendant. His wife andchildren sought loss of consortium. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of plaintiffs, finding thedefendant 70% at fault for the cause of the accident. The jury assessed the damages as follow:$1,000 for physical pain and suffering, $1,700 for past medical expenses and $5,400 for past lostwages. Plaintiff appealed alleging error in the jury’s finding of comparative fault and its award of general and special damages
ISSUE:
Whether the jury abusive its discretional power when they award the plaintiff compensatory damages below what should have be reasonable in light of the circumstances of the case.
RULE:
Looking at past cases analogous to the injuries presented in this case, juries haveapportioned awards significant higher for injuries similar to the one presented in this case andconsidering the pre-existing condition of plaintiff, the law is defendant takes his victim as hefinds him and is responsible for all natural and probable consequences of his tortuous conduct.When the tortfeasor’s conduct aggravates a pre-existing condition, the tortfeasor mustcompensate the victim for the full extent of the aggravation. Subsequently, a tortfeasor isrequired to pay for medical treatment of his victim, even over-treatment and any pertainingexpenses that resulted from that defendant’s tortuous conduct
APPLICATION:
Here, the jury should have awarded more for the plaintiff’s general andspecial damages b/c (1) the plaintiff had a pre-existing spinal defect, which was aggravated bythe accident and testified by the plaintiff’s physician that the plaintiff will required surgery toease his pain. The rule of the court is a defendant has to take his victim as he finds him/her andmust compensate for the full extent of the aggravation; (2) the jury abused its discretional power  b/c prior cases that shows similarities to the plaintiff’s injuries have awarded more when plaintiff can established with certainty, and supported by medical testimony the probable expenses tocover the injuries. In this case, plaintiff presented evidence to support past medical expenseswhich was undisputed by the defendant and for general damages attributed to pain and suffering;and (3) third when a plaintiff can prove with preponderance of the evidence his claim of past andfuture wages through his own testimony but also through medical evidence that indicates withreasonable certainty that a residual disability causally related to the accident exists. In this case,the plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the bid he placed on aconstruction job would be accepted and defendant vocational expert testimony shows the plaintiff was capable of some upward mobility which allows him to work in light/medium duty jobs and giving time his potential earning capacities will increase.
 
CONCLUSION:
Therefore, the judgment of the district court is amended to award to plaintiff general damages of $25,000, along with special damaged of #13,942.19 for past medicalexpenses, $59,915 for future medical expenses and $7,500 for past wages, subject to 30%reduction for plaintiff’s fault.
 
Jordan v. Baptist Three Rivers HospitalFACTS:
The plaintiff sought damages for loss of consortium from the defendants’ negligencethat caused the decedent’s death. The defendants filed a motion for strike and a motion for  judgment on the pleadings asserting that TN law does not permit recovery for the loss of parentalconsortium. The trial court granted the motion to strike.
ISSUE:
Whether the plaintiffs’ claims for loss of spousal and parental consortium is viable whenthe defendant’s negligence caused the decedent’s death
RULE:
Survival statutes: permit victim’s cause of action to survive death, so that the victim,through his estate, recovers damages that would have been recovered by the victim had thevictim survived; action includes damages for the death itself; recovery is the same as thedecedent would have been entitled to at death (wages lost, med expenses, pain & suffering)Pure wrongful death statutes: another cause of action in favor of the survivors of the victim for their losses occasioned by the death; compensate for the loss of econ benefit they mightreasonably have expected to receive from decedent during remainder of lifetime had they not been killed = “pecuniary loss” standard of recovery
APPLICATION:
Here, there are two statutes: One, the survival statute that transfer thedecedent’s right for cause of action against the negligence defendant unto the surviving spouse or children. Second, there is the wrongful death statute that allows the surviving spouse andchildren to seek compensation for loss of economic benefit the decedent would have providedhave they been alive. These two statutes are applicable to the plaintiffs in this case b/c the plaintiffs loss their mother and spouse due to the defendant’s negligence. In this instance case,the plaintiff seeks compensation for loss of consortium and as stated in this case, whileconsortium is not implicitly stated in the statutes, it was implied by what the court labeled as the pecuniary value. This pecuniary value covers all aspect such as expectancy of life, age, conditionof health and strength, capacity for labor, earning potential, profession and occupation or  business, and personal habits as to sobriety and industry. Pecuniary value extends to cover different things in human life that makes someone a functioning part of a family both sociallyand economically. The loss of those things is incalculable to the decedent’s surviving family.Therefore, this surviving spouse and children are entitled to compensation subject to thecloseness of the relationship and dependence tot the decedent
CONCLUSION:
Therefore, consortium-type damages may be considered when calculating the pecuniary value of a deceased’s life – holding does not create a new cause of action but merelyrefines the term “pecuniary value” Loss of Consortium - tangible services provided by a familymember, also intangible benefits each family member receives from the continued existence of other family members (compensating for this)

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