Quinonez v. Andersen

In Quinonez v. Andersen, 144 Ariz. 193, 696 P.2d 1342 (App. 1984) the Court upheld a jury verdict awarding no damages to the husband of the decedent. 144 Ariz. at 198, 696 P.2d at 1347. Although the dissent states that the husband's evidence of economic loss was uncontested, the facts of that case demonstrate otherwise. The court noted that the decedent had stated she planned to divorce her husband and that, although the husband "did present expert testimony showing economic loss by reason of his wife's death," "the evidence . . . showed that their children were now in the home of a relative and that no charges were being made to the husband for this service." Id. at 198, 696 P.2d at 1347. The Court construed the "fair and just" provision of 12-613 to permit an award of zero damages. There, we held that a jury could consistently find in favor of the plaintiff on a wrongful death claim but decline to award damages. Id. In Quinonez, the beneficiary making the damages claim was the decedent's husband. Id. Due to the abusive relationship between the husband and the decedent-wife, we determined that "the jury may have concluded that . . . a just and fair award for this loss was zero." Id. Thus, Quinonez illustrates the principle that in a wrongful death case damages is not an essential element of the claim itself and the jury may return a verdict of zero damages even after a liability verdict.