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Mental Anguish Lawsuit Alabama

In Kmart Corp. v. Kyles, 723 So. 2d 572 (Ala. 1998), the court held:

"We give stricter scrutiny to an award of mental anguish where the victim has offered little or no direct evidence concerning the degree of suffering he or she has experienced. See Foster v. Life Ins. Co. of Georgia, 656 So. 2d 333, 337 (Ala. 1994), where the Court stated:

"'We recognize that mental anguish and emotional distress are not items for which a precise amount of damages can be assessed; thus, in considering whether a jury verdict for compensatory damages is excessive, we must view the evidence from the plaintiff's perspective and determine what the evidence supports in terms of the plaintiff's suffering. Pitt v. Century II, Inc., 631 So. 2d 235 (Ala. 1993).

In this case, the only evidence regarding Foster's mental anguish and emotional distress is her bare assertion that the discovery of fraud affected her "a lot" and that she sued two months after the mental anguish and emotional distress began.

From this limited evidence, we agree that the jury could infer that Foster suffered some measure of mental anguish and emotional distress from the realization that she had been paying over a fifth of her monthly income to an insurance company for a worthless policy;

however, we hold that, even when viewed in a light most favorable to her, Foster's scant testimony of mental anguish and emotional distress, without more, does not support an award exceeding $ 120,000 for each of the two months before she sued. We conclude that the $ 250,000 compensatory damages award was excessive by $ 200,000.'

"Unlike the plaintiff in the instant case, the plaintiff in Foster at least testified to the issue of mental anguish by saying that the discovery of the fraud affected her 'a lot.' See, also, Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Harris, 630 So. 2d 1018, 1033 (Ala. 1993), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1128, 128 L. Ed. 2d 865, 114 S. Ct. 2135 (1994), where the Court reduced a mental anguish verdict from $ 750,000 to $ 1 in a setting where the victim of the mental anguish did not testify.

"The plaintiff here did not testify about her mental anguish in this trial."723 So. 2d at 578-79.



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