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Excess Verdict Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Excess Verdict and the related topic of personal injury.  For more information on excess verdict issues see the pages on Wikipedia.

Excess Verdict-Cases

2013 Allied Concrete Company v. Lester, 285 Va. 295, 736 S.E.2d 699.
Trial court improperly based decision to grant remittitur on improper comparison of awards and failed to consider proper factors in evidence. In addition, trial court failed to provide any way of ascertaining whether the reduced award bears a reasonable relation to damages suffered by the plaintiff.

2007 John Crane, Inc. v. Jones, 274 Va. 581, 650 S.E.2d 851.
Excess verdict.Supreme Court refused to engage in a “average verdict analysis” in terms of deciding the excessiveness of this verdict. That is, verdicts in other similar cases will not be compared with this one as each one is different.

2004 Rose v. Jaques, 268 Va. 137, 597 S.E.2d 64.
Auto accident case resulted in $7.5 million verdict. Plaintiff presented evidence of future care cost of $5,000,000 and loss of income of $2,000,000. Verdict is not excessive.

2003 Allstate Ins. Co. v. Wade, 265 Va. 383, 579 S.E.2d 180.
In these consolidated cases, personal injury plaintiffs had special damages of $2,000, $5,000, and $6,000 respectively. Jury verdicts were $75,000, $75,000, and $100,000 respectively. Each plaintiff testified as to ongoing chronic pain. Based on that evidence verdicts were not excessive.

2002 WJLA-TV v. Levin, 264 Va. 140, 564 S.E.2d 383.
Verdict for plaintiff in defamation action for $2,000,000. Plaintiff claimed actual damage in excess of $900,000 and that balance of award was compensation for injury to reputation, humiliation, and anguish. Jury verdict not excessive.

2001 Shepard v. Capitol Foundry of Va., Inc., 262 Va. 715, 554 S.E.2d 72.
Excess verdict.Wrongful death action arising from automobile accident. Jury awarded $1.1 million dollars to husband of decedent and $100,000 to each of her six children. Trial court remitted verdict on grounds of it being excessive. Standard of review is whether trial court abused discretion. To determine that, appellate court must first find in record trial court’s conclusion that verdict was excessive and explanation that court considered factors in evidence relevant to evaluation of damages and also appellate court must determine whether amount of recovery after remittitur bears reasonable relation to damages disclosed by evidence. If there is evidence to sustain jury verdict when considering evidence in light most favorable to plaintiff, then remittitur is inappropriate. In this case, damages were not excessive. Husband was 84 years of age, there was no evidence regarding loss of income, medical expenses, or funeral expenses. Parties had been married for 44 years and decedent was described by couple’s adult children as being husband’s “crutch” and husband was so distraught that he visited her grave once or twice a month and told her about children. Likewise, verdict for son in amount of $100,000 even though he did not testify, was not excessive because evidence was that he was at funeral and that he had close relationship with decedent.

2000 Norfolk Beverage Co. v. Cho, 259 Va. 348, 525 S.E.2d 287.
Plaintiff couple filed separate actions against defendant company and employee alleging injury when employee committed assault within scope of his employment. Jury verdict in favor of husband was in the amount of $160,000 based on medical bills of $1,336.75 and verdict for wife was in the amount of $310,000 with medical bills of $8,653.81. Based upon jury instruction and evidence including attack upon plaintiffs, humiliation they experienced and injuries they incurred, verdict is not shocking to court.

1999 Virginia Elec. & Power Co. v. Dungee, 258 Va. 235, 520 S.E.2d 164.
Minor plaintiff in this case suffered severe electrical burns. Although plaintiff incurred no special damages for treatment, evidence indicated that plaintiff’s past, present, and future pain and suffering was compelling and that he would need ongoing treatment for at least 30 years to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Verdict of $ 20 million upheld.

1996 Poulston v. Rock, 251 Va. 254, 467 S.E.2d 479.
Defendant accused plaintiff of theft. Jury returned verdict of $10,000 compensatory and $25,000 punitive damages. Trial court reversed award. Damage award should be reduced if it shocks conscience of court, creating impression that jury was influenced by passion, corruption or prejudice; that jury has misconceived or misunderstood facts or law; or award is so out of proportion to injury suffered as to suggest it is not product of fair and impartial decision. In this instance, where plaintiff proves publication of words actionable per se, he is relieved of necessity of proving quantum of damages for injury to reputation, humiliation, and embarrassment. Trial court failed to consider all relevant factors necessary for proper evaluation of compensatory award and as such remittitur is reversed.

1993 Henderson v. Gay, 245 Va. 478, 429 S.E.2d 14.
In letter opinion setting aside verdict, trial court expressed opinion that if it had not set aside verdict on grounds of contributory negligence, it would have ordered retrial on issue of damages since verdict was excessive. This was not included within final order, and as such this issue cannot be considered on appeal.

1992 Salih v. Lane, 244 Va. 436, 423 S.E.2d 192.
Medical malpractice case where jury returned verdict for $1.2 million. Evidence established permanency plus prospective economic loss of $1.6 million. Verdict not excessive.

1992 Reel v. Ramirez, 243 Va. 463, 416 S.E.2d 226.
Excess verdict.Plaintiff spent two days in hospital; medicals of $14,500; injuries consisted of some scarring, headaches which had resolved, knee injury with five percent disability. Trial court initially reduced $300,000 verdict to $200,000 and then set aside verdict ordering new trial on damages. Second jury returned verdict for $30,000. This judgment affirmed.

1989 Clark v. Chapman, 238 Va. 655, 385 S.E.2d 885.
Medicals of $8,200, lost wages of $55,226. Verdict $290,000. Plaintiff testified to extreme and continuing pain. Verdict not excessive.

1989 Caldwell v. Seaboard Sys. R.R., 238 Va. 148, 380 S.E.2d 910.
Excess verdict.Verdict for $1.2 million. Lost wages of $37,687.79 up to date of trial, loss of fringe benefits totalling $251,440.80 (not reduced to present value); future medicals of $2,300. Although there was future impairment, evidence does not indicate substantial pain, suffering or embarrassment. Remittitur is upheld.

1988 Robinson v. Old Dominion Freight Line, 236 Va. 125, 372 S.E.2d 142.
Excess verdict.Medicals of $2,212. At time of trial, plaintiff 1.5 year post accident still experiencing symptoms. Verdict for $30,000. Trial court remitted $15,000 based on its post-trial review of injury valuation handbooks and its opinion that medicals were exorbitant. There was no evidence to support such by trial court; therefore jury verdict reinstated. If trial judge orders remittitur and on record states factors he considered which were in evidence and relevant to reasoned evaluation of damages then remittitur will not be disturbed if final recovery bears a reasonable relation to damages in evidence.

1987 Transilift Equip. Ltd. v. Cunningham, 234 Va. 84, 360 S.E.2d 183.
Verdict for $255,000. Plaintiff suffered previous war injury to neck which confined him to wheelchair. This accident caused re-injury with permanent damage, loss of function, and pain. Special damages of about $15,000. Verdict upheld.

1987 Graddy v. Hatchett, 233 Va. 65, 353 S.E.2d 741.
Wrongful death claim. Verdict for $400,000 for loss of companionship, etc. under Va. Code § 8.01-52 was not excessive.

1986 Modaber v. Kelley, 232 Va. 60, 348 S.E.2d 233.
Medical malpractice. Negligence of defendant caused stillbirth of infant. Mother compensated for physical injury and mental suffering associated with stillbirth. $750,000 not excessive. Ordinarily damage awards fixed by jury following properly conducted trial and approved by trial judge are inviolate.

1985 The Gazette, Inc. v. Harris, 229 Va. 1, 325 S.E.2d 713.
Excess verdict.Unless verdict is so excessive as to shock conscience of court or to create impression that jury influenced by passion or prejudice, verdict approved by trial court will not be disturbed on appeal. $100,000 verdict in defamation case. Plaintiff experienced no physical manifestation of emotional upset, no expenses, no loss of standing with his peers. Verdict excessive as matter of law.

1983 Hogan v. Carter, 226 Va. 361, 310 S.E.2d 666.
Medicals in this case were $2,155.38. There were no lost wages or other economic damages. Plaintiff suffered fracture of hip from which she had completely recovered as of time of accident. There was testimony of her having ongoing symptoms. A verdict in amount of $50,000 was reduced by trial court to $25,000. Affirmed.

1983 Taylor v. Maritime Overseas Corp., 224 Va. 562, 299 S.E.2d 340.
New trial improperly granted where alleged after-discovered evidence had already been in defendant’s possession and award, although seemingly high ($25,000 for injured shoulder), did not shock conscience.

1982 Dutton v. Locker, 224 Va. 535, 297 S.E.2d 814.
Medicals over $6400; future medicals of $3000; 50% disability of arm and hand. Verdict of $45,000 not excessive.

1982 Ford Motor Co. v. Bartholomew, 224 Va. 421, 297 S.E.2d 675.
Excess verdict.Remittitur upheld on appeal. Discussion of rules applicable to new trial where verdict inadequate or excessive. When verdict is so inadequate or excessive that integrity of finding on liability is suspect then only remedy is new trial. When verdict is not so excessive as to indicate bias or sympathy then court may put plaintiff on terms or may grant defendant new trial limited to damages.

1982 Todt v. Shaw, 223 Va. 123, 286 S.E.2d 211.
Medicals of $233.00 and lost wages of $5262.40. At time of trial plaintiff unable to work and in great pain. Verdict of $25,000 not excessive.

1980 Rutherford v. Zearfoss, 221 Va. 685, 272 S.E.2d 225.
One and one half million dollar award held excessive where child left in permanently crippled condition. New trial ordered on all issues.

1980 Pugsley v. Privette, 220 Va. 892, 263 S.E.2d 69.
Verdict for $75,000 where medicals greater than $30,000. Not excessive.

1977 Campbell v. Hankins, 217 Va. 800, 232 S.E.2d 794.
Nothing in record to indicate basis for trial judge’s opinion that verdict was excessive. Error to order remittitur. To support charge of excessiveness of verdict, amount awarded should be so great as to shock conscience. Verdict for $12,250 not excessive where medical expenses are $1,200 and plaintiff suffered fractures, contusion and 23 days in hospital.

1976 Bassett Furn. v. McReynolds, 216 Va. 897, 224 S.E.2d 323.
Plaintiff rendered paraplegic. Prospective lost wages of $146,000. Verdict of $1,000,000 excessive and properly reduced.

1975 Neighbors v. Moore, 216 Va. 514, 219 S.E.2d 692.
Verdict of $45,000 was not excessive where plaintiff had permanent injuries, special damages of $4,200 and inability to work in future.

1975 Murphy v. Virginia Carolina Freight Lines, 215 Va. 770, 213 S.E.2d 769.
Plaintiff suffered back and neck injuries causing prolonged period of pain and suffering. First verdict for $25,000 not excessive.

1974 Clatterbuck v. Miller, 215 Va. 359, 209 S.E.2d 904.
Plaintiff’s vehicle rear-ended by defendant’s vehicle. Plaintiff suffered minor back sprain; at first trial, jury returned verdict for $40,000. Trial judge granted new trial feeling verdict was excessive. At second trial, jury returned verdict for plaintiff for $5,000. Affirmed.

1974 Lynchburg Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Reynolds, 215 Va. 1, 205 S.E.2d 396.
Excess verdict.Plaintiff became ill from drinking Coca-Cola with mold and other foreign substance in bottle. Verdict for $3,000 excessive; plaintiff had nausea and vomiting; out of pocket expense of $5 for Pepto Bismol with no lost time from work. Verdict bears no relation to minimal damages suffered by plaintiff.

1974 Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Ward, 214 Va. 543, 202 S.E.2d 877.
Verdict of $200,000 held not excessive in light of 16 percent disability which prevented plaintiff from returning to his occupation.

1973 Hughes v. Moore, 214 Va. 27, 197 S.E.2d 214.
Medical bills of $112.00. Plaintiff suffered emotional distress. Verdict of $12,000 not excessive.

1973 Norfolk S. Ry. v. Rayburn, 213 Va. 812, 195 S.E.2d 860.
Plaintiff sustained severe back injury; since reasonable men might conclude that $125,000 was just compensation for injuries received, verdict will not be disturbed.

1973 Shelley v. West, 213 Va. 611, 194 S.E.2d 899.
Excess verdict.Jury found against one of defendants and assessed damages. Court must presume amount was unmotivated by bias or prejudice.

1973 Gumenick v. United States, 213 Va. 510, 193 S.E.2d 788.
Plaintiff injured in fall from porch and rendered quadriplegic. Verdict for $650,000 approved by trial judge is not excessive as matter of law.

1972 National Ass’n of Letter Carriers v. Austin, 213 Va. 377, 192 S.E.2d 737.
Defamation action. Compensatory damages of $10,000 and punitive damages of $45,000. Not excessive.

1971 Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Keatley, 211 Va. 507, 178 S.E.2d 516.
Jury verdict of $35,000 not excessive when injury complained of consisted of sprain of trapezius muscles and ligaments and subluxated vertebra, and evidence showed that employee would experience permanent periodic discomfort.

1968 State Farm Mut. Ins. Co. v. Futrell, 209 Va. 266, 163 S.E.2d 181.
Plaintiff suffered recurrence of heart condition and 25 percent permanent impairment of function of his left leg $35,000 verdict not excessive.

1968 National Cab v. Thompson, 208 Va. 731, 160 S.E.2d 769.
Excess verdict.Demeanor, candor and sensitivity of defendant should not be considered by jury in arriving at amount of damages, Verdict of $10,000 was held excessive where special damages were minimal and injury involved 15 percent disability of thumb.

1967 Miller v. Vaughan Motor Co., 207 Va. 900, 153 S.E.2d 266.
Plaintiff struck by ladder on one of defendant’s trucks while it was backing. Aggravation of pre-existing osteoarthritis; evidence of future medicals and continuing of condition. Error to order remittitur of $12,500 to $6,000.

1967 Wagnstrom v. Pope, 207 Va. 761, 152 S.E.2d 21.
Excess verdict.Court should only set aside verdict for plaintiff and award new trial as to damages or put plaintiff on terms to accept reduced amount where verdict appears to be result of passion, corruption or prejudice, or misconception of law or facts.

1966 Davenport v. Aldrich, 207 Va. 271, 148 S.E.2d 768.
Jury’s decision on damages usually binding in personal injury case; $30,000 verdict not excessive; plaintiff suffered chest injuries, knee and back injuries, some of which were permanent and quite painful.

1966 Hardy v. Greene, 207 Va. 81, 147 S.E.2d 719.
Plaintiff suffered painful injury to her neck and arm; not fully cured; evidence presented of future medical expenses. Medical expenses totaling $526.00; verdict for $8,500 not excessive.

1965 Newman v. Dalton, 206 Va. 119, 141 S.E.2d 677.
Verdict of $40,000 with $4,140 in hospital bills and permanent injury was held not to be excessive.

1964 Edmiston v. Kupsenel, 205 Va. 198, 135 S.E.2d 777.
Special damages of approximately $900, severe and permanent head injury. Verdict of $28,500 not excessive.

1962 Phillips v. Fulghum, 203 Va. 543, 125 S.E.2d 835.
Special damages of $2,000 and evidence of permanency. Verdict of $17,500 not excessive.

1962 Doe v. Brown, 203 Va. 508, 125 S.E.2d 159.
Verdict for $14,000 not excessive where plaintiff suffered concussion, resulting dizziness and loss of memory and plaintiff scheduled for surgery after trial.

1962 Allen v. Brooks, 203 Va. 357, 124 S.E.2d 18.
Special damages of $700 and evidence of permanency. Verdict of $5,720 not excessive.

1961 Smithey v. Sinclair Ref. Co., 203 Va. 142, 122 S.E.2d 872.
Excess verdict.Medical bills less than $100. No permanency. Verdict of $15,000 excessive.

1961 Spitzerv. Clatterbuck, 202 Va. 1001, 121 S.E.2d 466.
Five thousand dollar award in malicious prosecution action not excessive.

1959 Lilley v. Simmons, 200 Va. 791, 108 S.E.2d 245.
Award cannot be set aside unless it be shown that it is so out of proportion to injury and loss as to evidence prejudice, partiality or corruption by jury or amount was brought about by mistaken view of merits of case. Verdict of $125,000 where special damages were $4,000 and left leg amputated not excessive.

1958 Williams Paving Co. v. Kreidl, 200 Va. 196, 104 S.E.2d 758.
If amount awarded by jury is not so out of proportion to injury and loss suffered as to evidence prejudice, partiality or corruption by jury or show that it was actuated by mistaken view of merits of case, then award should not be disturbed. Verdict of $33,000 based on $961.53 in special damages and permanent injuries was not excessive.

1958 Phillips v. Campbell, 200 Va. 136, 104 S.E.2d 765.
Law does not assume that particular injury calls for definite amount of compensation, for just compensation may vary widely in different cases even where physical injury is same. Twenty-five thousand dollar verdict not excessive where medicals of $600 and permanent injury.

1958 Rountree v. Rountree, 200 Va. 57, 104 S.E.2d 42.
Twenty-five thousand dollars for spinal injury alleged to be permanent with special damages of $2,000 is not excessive.

1958 Simmons v. Boyd, 199 Va. 806, 102 S.E.2d 292.
In this auto accident case plaintiff had lost wages of $730 and medical bills of $455. Medical testimony did not support permanency but her doctor did state she could not work again until her symptoms abated. Verdict of $20,000 was not excessive.

1951 Atlantic Coast Line Ry. v. Withers, 192 Va. 493, 65 S.E.2d 654.
Verdict will not be set aside unless it is shocking to sense of justice. Verdict of $35,000 not excessive where medical bill for five month hospital stay was $4,000. Plaintiff had shortening of leg and limitation of motion.

1949 Kinser v. Haga, 189 Va. 963, 54 S.E.2d 886.
Plaintiff suffered compound fracture of left tibia and fibula. Excruciating pain and moderate degree of shock. Eight thousand dollar verdict not excessive.

1948 Norfolk Bus Term. v. Sheldon, 188 Va. 288, 49 S.E.2d 338.
Fifteen hundred dollar award although not excessive for malicious prosecution is certainly large.

1947 Danville Community Hosp. v. Thompson, 186 Va. 746, 43 S.E.2d 882.
Verdict of $5,000 not excessive where plaintiff suffered burn and resulting scar which has affected plaintiff’s walking.

1947 Stuart v. Coates, 186 Va. 227, 42 S.E.2d 311.
Verdict for $9,000 not excessive where plaintiff suffered concussion, spent five weeks in hospital and symptoms persisted to day of trial.

1947 Hatfield v. Thomas, 186 Va. 7, 41 S.E.2d 460.
Verdict of $5,000 for broken collar bone with continuing pain is not excessive.

1946 Highway Express Lines v. Fleming, 185 Va. 666, 40 S.E.2d 294.
Under provisions of Lord Campbell Act verdict of jury assessing damages for wrongful death is final and will not be disturbed by Supreme Court. Verdict of $11,000 not excessive when decedent was normal, healthy 31-year-old married woman with 11-year-old child.

1946 National Fruit Prod. Co. v. Wagner, 185 Va. 38, 37 S.E.2d 757.
Jury verdict cannot be set aside unless it is made to appear that jury has been actuated by prejudice, partiality or corruption or that they were misled by some mistaken view of merits of case. Fifteen thousand dollar verdict where injuries involved facial scarring and need for future surgery.

1945 Brown v. Wallace, 184 Va. 570, 35 S.E.2d 793.
Verdict of $15,000 not excessive where plaintiff permanently injured, scarred and earning capacity greatly impaired.

1945 Cooke v. Griggs, 183 Va. 851, 33 S.E.2d 764.
Verdict for $7,000 in wrongful death case not excessive.

1944 Sheckler v. Anderson, 182 Va. 701, 29 S.E.2d 867.
Six hundred dollar verdict for infant, who spent two weeks in hospital and who at time of trial had periods of swimming in his head, was reasonable.

1944 Young v. Merritt, 182 Va. 605, 29 S.E.2d 834.
In this false arrest case, verdict could not be set aside unless it is so grossly excessive as to indicate that jury was actuated by prejudice, partiality or corruption or that they had been misled by some mistaken view of merits of case.

1942 Remine v. Whited, 180 Va. 1, 23 S.E.2d 743.
Jury given great latitude as to amount of compensation. Verdict of $10,000 not excessive as plaintiff was badly hurt.


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Excess Verdict Cases Summarized By Accident Lawyer

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