Farricelli v. Tyra
Past, present and future physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, fear, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment are legitimate losses for which a plaintiff may be entitled to compensation. Plaintiff Rudolph Farricelli claimed that the subject motor-vehicle collision was severe, his body struck the steering wheel, his legs were jammed into the floor and he experienced significant back pain and difficulty sleeping that affected his ability to work as a contractor and handyman. The plaintiff, who has a life expectancy of 24 years, was rated with a 7 percent permanent partial disability to his lumbar spine. A jury awarded economic damages of $7,020 and non-economic damages of $300,000. The defendant, Shea Tyra, moved to set aside and for remittitur. The defendant argued that the jury did not follow the court's instruction that an award is not intended to punish the defendant and is only intended to compensate the plaintiff. The court instructed the jury about damages to compensate the plaintiff for any permanent physical harm and loss of function, mental pain and suffering. The court stated to the jury that "the purpose of an award of damages is not to punish or penalize the defendant for her negligence, but to compensate the plaintiff for his resulting injuries." Juries are presumed to follow the court's instructions, absent evidence to the contrary. The jury's award failed to shock the court's sense of justice. The court was not persuaded that the plaintiff wrongly introduced the issue of insurance and prejudiced the verdict, because the plaintiff, when asked whether he repaired his motor vehicle after the accident, answered that he lacked enough money to repair it. The court denied the defendant's motion to set aside and for remittitur. The court deducted $6,750 as a set off for collateral sources.