Should Damages Be Calculated by a Mathematical Formula ?

In De Cicco v. Methodist Hosp., 74 AD2d 593 [2d Dept 1980], the appellate court noted (at 594): "In view of the fact that there is no mechanical method by which pain and suffering may be translated into dollars and cents, the time-unit technique injects an element of false simplicity into the determination by holding out a mathematical formula by which damages may be neatly calculated. To that extent the technique tends to deflect the jury from the essential task of exercising its own sound discretion in determining the appropriate award." Furthermore, in De Cicco (supra), plaintiff's counsel specified certain dollar amount awards for past and future pain and suffering and emphasized to the jury that the amounts did not sound like a lot of money after he broke it down based upon the years of plaintiff's life expectancy. Although the trial court, in De Cicco, gave a curative instruction, the appeals court found that such impropriety was not curable and directed a new trial on damages only.