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Remittitur Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Summarizes Remittitur Cases

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Information on Remittitur brought to you by Brien Roche, a Northern Virginia attorney with 35 years experience. For more information on remittitur issues see the pages on Wikipedia.

Remittitur-Statutes

See Va. Const. art. VI, § 6 which states that Supreme Court in suit for unliquidated damages shall not increase or decrease award.

See Va. Code § 8.01-383.1.

Remittitur-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.

2011 Condominium Services, Inc. v. First Owners’ Ass’n., 281 Va. 561, 709 S.E.2d 163.
Punitive award in this conversion case was upheld. Total award was
$275,000, which was two and a half times the compensatory award. Although defendant may have been experiencing financial difficul- ties, that evidence was not presented at trial and therefore cannot be considered now as to excessiveness of punitive award.

2007 Baldwin v. McConnell, 273 Va. 650, 643 S.E.2d 703.
McConnell and Baldwin were co-workers. McConnell physically assaulted Baldwin. Jury verdict in favor of Baldwin for compensatory damages of $240,000 and punitive damages of $100,000 was reduced to $1,000 compensatory and $10,000 punitive. The compensatory award of $240,000 had been previously reduced to the amount prayed for of $100,000. The further reduction by the court was error as the court did not apply the procedure applicable to remittitur, that is, there must first be a record made of the trial court’s conclusion that the verdict was excessive and also an explanation showing that the court considered factors in evidence relevant to a reasoned evaluation of the damages. In addition, the court must ascertain whether the amount of the recovery after remittitur bears a reasonable relation to the damages disclosed by the evidence. In this case, that was not done by the trial court. As such, the award of compensatory damages of $100,000 and punitive damages of $100,000 is reinstated.

2006 Government Micro Res., Inc. v. Jackson, 271 Va. 29, 624 S.E.2d 63.
In this defamation action, jury verdict of compensatory damages of $5,000,000 was not excessive. Trial court remittitur was not appropriate. In reviewing order of remittitur, the supreme court must find in the record the trial court’s conclusion that the verdict was excessive and its analysis demonstrating that it considered factors in evidence relevant to an evaluation of the damages. Further, the supreme court must determine whether the remitted award is reasonably related to the damages disclosed by the evidence. The trial court failed to do this and therefore, the order of remittitur from the trial court is vacated.

2001 Shepard v. Capitol Foundry of Va., Inc., 262 Va. 715, 554 S.E.2d 72.
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.

1992 Reel v. Ramirez, 243 Va. 463, 416 S.E.2d 226.
Trial court must state basis for remittitur.

1987 Richmond Newspapers v. Lipscomb, 234 Va. 277, 362 S.E.2d 32.
Defamation case. One million dollar award reduced to $100,000 by trial court. Supreme Court could not find from record that trial court plainly abused its discretion; therefore, reduced verdict stands.

1985 The Gazette, Inc. v. Harris, 229 Va. 1, 325 S.E.2d 713.
Supreme Court has authority to remand with direction that plaintiff be put on terms to remit or submit to new trial. Verdict in this case for $100,000.

1983 Hogan v. Carter, 226 Va. 361, 310 S.E.2d 666.
On appeal of remittitur Supreme Court does not sit to determine whether damage award is excessive as matter of law. When trial judge makes such finding it is sole function of court of appeals to determine whether he has abused discretion accorded to him by statutes and common law. In this case record made by trial court indicated there had not been abuse of discretion.

1982 Ford Motor Co. v. Bartholomew, 224 Va. 421, 297 S.E.2d 675.
Remittitur not disturbed on appeal if recovery after remittitur bears reasonable relation to damages disclosed by evidence.

1977 Campbell v. Hankins, 217 Va. 800, 232 S.E.2d 794.
When plaintiff is faced with orders of remittitur he may: (1) grant unconditional consent to entry of final judgment on reduced award; (2) grant conditional consent and seek immediate appellate review; or (3) withhold consent altogether, submit to new trial and treat order of remittitur as intermediate order subject to review on appeal from final judgment when entered.

1976 Bain v. Phillips, 217 Va. 387, 228 S.E.2d 576.
No abuse of trial court discretion given trial judge’s duty to supervise verdicts of juries to prevent miscarriages of justice, especially where plaintiff has invited trial court to put him on terms.

1976 Bassett Furn. v. McReynolds, 216 Va. 897, 224 S.E.2d 323.
In reviewing order of remittitur it must be apparent that record shows grounds relied on in support of such action; otherwise, it cannot stand.

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 condition. Error to order remittitur of $12,500 to $6,000.

1967 Wagnstrom v. Pope, 207 Va. 761, 152 S.E.2d 21.
Remittitur improper where verdict for $7,000 rendered for plaintiff on facts that plaintiff in constant pain for three months, hospitalized for eight days and suffered cuts and bruises on both legs and hand. Court should only set aside verdict for plaintiff and award new trial as to damages only 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.
Court ordered remittitur of $7,500 of plaintiff’s $30,000 verdict. Plaintiff suffered chest, back and knee injuries, some of which were permanent and quite painful. Jury’s verdict proper and court should not have disturbed it.

1966 Hardy v. Greene, 207 Va. 81, 147 S.E.2d 719.
Court may award new trial as to damages or put plaintiff on terms to accept reduced amount where verdict is so great as to suggest jury acted from passion, corruption or prejudice, or misconceived or misconstrued facts or law.

1961 Smithey v. Sinclair Ref. Co., 203 Va. 142, 122 S.E.2d 872.
Plaintiff properly put on terms when special damages were approximately $100, no permanency and verdict of $15,000.

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Remittitur Cases Summarized By Injury Lawyer

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