Sheppard v. Crow-Barker-Paul No. 1 Ltd. Partnership

In Sheppard v. Crow-Barker-Paul No. 1 Ltd. Partnership, 192 Ariz. 539, 968 P.2d 612 (App. 1998), however, this Court tacitly addressed the question. In Sheppard, a case brought by an injured minor's father and "next best friend," the injured minor was apparently an accomplished and talented basketball player with aspirations of playing professional basketball. Id. at 548, P49, 968 P.2d at 621. The defendant argued that the trial court erred when it allowed the plaintiff to introduce evidence regarding the minor's diminished basketball skills due to the injuries he sustained. Id. at 548, PP48-50, 968 P.2d at 621. The plaintiff countered that he was not seeking to introduce evidence to support a special damages verdict for the loss of the chance for the minor to play professional basketball. Rather, the plaintiff was offering the evidence as part of the plaintiff's general damages claim for the loss of the ability to play the game at the same level as before the accident and the attendant effect this had on the minor. Id. at 548, P 50, 968 P.2d at 621. The trial court instructed the jury that the minor "is not claiming that he is entitled to a lost NBA salary based on a lost chance to play in the NBA. . . . The minor is claiming damages for loss of enjoyment of an activity, basketball, and the diminution in his ability to play basketball." Id. at 548-49, P51, 968 P.2d at 621-22. The Court recognized that the plaintiff, while presenting and arguing the evidence, "confined himself to a general damage claim for loss of enjoyment, not a special damage claim for loss of a chance," and held that "the trial court appropriately handled this issue, both in evidentiary rulings and instructions." Id. at 549, P 52, 968 P.2d at 622.