New Trial Due to the Inconsistent Nature of the Jury
Can a New Trial be Ordered Due to Inconsistent Nature of the Jury if it Awards Damages for Hospital Care But Not for Pain and Suffering to an Accident Victim ?
In Dougherty v. McLaughlin, 432 Pa. Super. 129, 637 A.2d 1017, 1019 (Pa. Super. 1994), the plaintiff was awarded damages for hospital care he was given following an automobile accident.
However, the jury awarded him no damages for pain and suffering.
The trial court granted the plaintiff's motion for additur.
On appeal, this Court found the additur improperly granted; however, we remanded for a new trial due to the inconsistent nature of the jury's award.
The Dougherty court explained:
Tort victims must be compensated for all that they lose and all that they suffer. Boggavarapu v. Ponist, 518 Pa. 162, 542 A.2d 516 (1988).
Where a jury awards a plaintiff his medical expenses, they make a finding that the expenses were related to the defendant's actions in injuring the plaintiff. Catalano v. Bujak, 148 Pa. Commw. 269, 611 A.2d 314 (1992), alloc. granted, 534 Pa. 642, 626 A.2d 1159 (1993).
However, by not awarding any pain and suffering, the jury also makes a finding that the plaintiff did not suffer as a result of his injuries and subsequent surgery. Id.
Such findings are inherently inconsistent. Id., 637 A.2d at 1019-20.