Monday, June 11, 2012

First Department Affirms Increased Pain and Suffering Award for Amputated Ring Finger, but As A Matter of Law Sets Aside Finding of Negligence Against Plaintiff

In Once v. Service Ctr. Of N.Y., the First Department affirmed additur for a partial ring-finger amputation and searched the record to grant plaintiff judgment on liability. The trial court ordered additur to $200,000 from a jury verdict of $60,000, increasing the awards for past pain and suffering from $50,000 to $75,000 and future pain and suffering from $10,000 to $150,000 over 27 years. Plaintiff had the distal portion of his ring finger amputated in a power-saw accident.

The jury had also apportioned 70% liability to the plaintiff, and the trial court reduced plaintiff’s apportioned liability to 15%. Yet, the First Department went further by searching the record, as plaintiff did not appeal from the judgment, to grant plaintiff judgment on liability. The Court stated that there “was no evidence that plaintiff misused the saw,” which had no guard in violation of the Industrial Code.

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