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Sunday, August 03, 2014

New Tennessee Court of Appeals Opinion on Voir Dire, Remittitur, and Damages

The Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Borne v. Celadon Trucking Servs., Inc., No. W2013-01949-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jul. 31, 2014).  The summary from the majority opinion states as follows:
Plaintiff was injured in an accident involving three tractor-trailer trucks. Plaintiff, who was driving a tractor-trailer, sued the other truck drivers and the trucking company owners of the vehicles. However, prior to trial, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with one of the trucking companies whereby Plaintiff and the agreeing defendant agreed to cooperate regarding the litigation and to work together to expose the defenses asserted by the non-agreeing defendant. The jury returned an itemized verdict of $3,705,000 for the Plaintiff against the non-agreeing defendant. The trial court denied the non-agreeing defendant’s motion for a new trial, but it suggested a remittitur of $1,605,000, for a total award of $2,100,000.  Plaintiff accepted the remittitur under protest and the non-agreeing defendant appealed to this Court. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and we reverse in part. Specifically, we affirm the physical pain and mental anguish and permanent injury awards as reduced by the trial court; we reverse the trial court’s suggested remittitur of the loss of earning capacity award and we instead reinstate the jury verdict of $1,455,000; and we further reduce the loss of enjoyment of life award to $50,000. Thus, we approve a total award to Plaintiff of $2,105,000.
Here's a link to the majority opinion:

Here's a link to the partial dissent by Judge Stafford:

NOTE: look for a Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application to be filed in this case.  I suspect the Tennessee Supreme Court might take it up given the very good points Judge Stafford made in his partial dissent.

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