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Arpin v. United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
521 F.3d 769 (2008)
Ronald Arpin died two weeks after doctors allegedly misdiagnosed his hip pain as a muscle strain instead of a serious infection. His wife, Jeannine Arpin (plaintiff) brought suit as personal representative of his estate against the clinic operators, the U.S. Air Force and St. Louis University (defendants), including claims for loss of consortium. Evidence showed Ronald enjoyed a close and loving relationship with Jeannine and their four adult children. Jeannine’s lawyer requested $5 million for Jeannine and $1 million for each of their children without connecting those numbers to specific evidence. After a bench trial, the judge awarded Jeannine $4 million for loss of consortium and each child $750,000. The judge explained only that “it is difficult to put a value on something that is priceless. Mrs. Arpin is far more dependent on her husband than are her children. Her children have suffered the loss of a father that is great and the devastation to this family is immeasurable.” The U.S. Air Force and the university appealed on several grounds, including challenging the damages awarded for loss of consortium.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)
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