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Averette v. Phillips
Louisiana Court of Appeals
185 So. 3d 16 (2015)
Lana Averette (plaintiff) suffered spinal injuries when she was rear-ended by a truck driven by Adam Phillips (defendant). Averette sued Phillips for negligence, seeking, among other things, damages for future medical expenses but not for future pain and suffering. At trial, Averette presented evidence that she would need future medical treatment, including twenty years’ worth of future spinal steroid injections, to prevent her from experiencing pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. During closing arguments, Averette’s attorney asked the jury for an award of future medical expenses but explained that Averette was waiving damages for future pain and suffering because she believed that her future medical treatments would allow her to live with minimal pain. Consistent with Averette’s request, the jury awarded $500,000 for future medical expenses but did not award damages for future pain and suffering. Phillips moved for a new trial, asserting that the jury’s award was inconsistent. Phillips attempted to have the jury’s award of future medical expenses set aside by making the novel argument that: (1) a plaintiff cannot have future medical expenses without future pain and suffering, (2) a jury verdict awarding future medical expenses but not awarding damages for future pain and suffering is inconsistent, and (3) an inconsistent jury verdict must be set aside. Averette argued that, if the court found the award to be inconsistent, she should be awarded future general damages, including future pain and suffering. The trial court denied the motion for new trial. Both parties appealed, each asserting the same arguments they had made concerning the motion for new trial.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McDonald, J.)
Dissent (Theriot, J.)
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