The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position after a jury trial verdict for plaintiff. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a personal injury case present such issues to the court.
(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this auto accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
BRIEF STATEMENT OF FACTS
In this action, Mr. and Ms. Ward sought to recover for injuries he sustained in an automobile accident that occurred on October 15, 2004; liability was admitted. Following the completion of jury selection, the trial of this action commenced on June 7, 2007 and finished on June 26, 2007. The jury reached its verdict the following day, after about four hours of deliberation. It awarded a total of $10,105,711 consisting of: $3,185,711 to Mr. Ward in future medical expenses, $5,200,000 to Mr. Ward in past and future non-economic damages, and $1,620,000 to Ms. Ward for loss of consortium.
Each of the jury’s three basic awards of damages is unreasonably excessive and unsupported by the evidence presented at trial. The awards must be reduced by this Court under Code of Civil Procedure section 662.5(b). In the event that plaintiffs are unwilling to accept remittitur, this Court should order a new trial.
This Court Can and Must Order a New Trial Where the Damages Awarded by the Jury Are Clearly Excessive Based on a Reasonableness Standard
Under Code of Civil Procedure section 657(5), the Court is authorized to vacate the jury’s verdict and order a new trial, upon motion by an aggrieved party, where the party’s substantial rights have been materially affected by excessive damages awarded by the jury. Section 657 further states that, A new trial shall not be granted upon the ground of … excessive … damages … unless after weighing the evidence the court is convinced from the entire record, including reasonable inferences therefrom, that the court or jury clearly should have reached a different verdict. (See Part 3 of 14.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.