Sacramento Jury Damages Award For Motorcycle Accident Challenged, Part 1 of 5

The following blog entry is part of the plaintiff’s response to the defendant’s new trial motion, which was posted earlier this month.

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this motorcycle accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)

Plaintiff, Mark Smith, submits this Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for New Trial or, in the Alternative Remittitur:


This action arises from motorcycle versus automobile collision which occurred on June 12, 2005, in Sacramento, California. Plaintiff filed the action and requested a jury trial. In its answer, the defendant likewise requested a trial by jury.

The jury trial was conduced from February 2 to February 5, 2008. On the morning of trial, the defendant admitted liability, but disputed causation and damages. During the trial, plaintiff submitted substantial evidence on the issues of causation and damages which was not significantly opposed by the defendant. The jury returned a verdict awarding Mr. Smith economic damages for the stipulated medical expenses of $15,221.75, future medical expenses of $720, past lost earnings of $28,686 and future lost earnings of $4,250. The jury awarded past non-economic damages in the amount of $190,000 and future non-economic damages of $80,000. The verdict of the jury was unanimous in all respects.

In spite of the facts that the defendant sought the trial by jury, the defendant now seeks a new trial, complaining that the non-economic damages awarded by the jury were excessive. The defendant has not cited any statutory or jurisprudential for her position that the damages are excessive, except for Horsford v. Board of Trustees of Calif. State Univ. (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 359 wherein the court remitted on award of economic damages in an employment discrimination case. Nor has the defendant cited any evidence that the jury was unduly influenced by passion and sympathy toward the plaintiff.

Rather, the defendant argues that the evidence introduced at by the plaintiff at trial did not reveal an injury which was significant enough to warrant the award of non-economic damages. The defendant does not argue that the evidence which she introduced justified a new trial or remittitur since the defendant did not introduce any evidence on these issues. She merely complains that Mr. Smith did not carry his burden of proof. (See Part 2 of 5.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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