Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,600+ case briefs...

Curtis v. Finneran

Supreme Court of New Jersey
417 A.2d 15 (1980)


Robert Finneran (defendant) was driving a car in which Ronald Curtis was riding as a passenger. Finneran fell asleep while driving and struck a guardrail. Curtis was killed instantly. Curtis’s estate (plaintiff) sued Finneran under New Jersey’s wrongful death statute, seeking funeral expenses and damages for the net pecuniary loss suffered by Curtis’s two sons. At trial, Dr. Matiyahu Marcus, an economics professor, provided testimony regarding the children’s net pecuniary loss. Marcus added together Curtis’s likely earnings from the time of his death until the time his sons would be financially independent. From this sum, Marcus subtracted the amount that Curtis would have likely spent on himself, over the same period. Marcus concluded that Curtis’s sons were deprived of earnings of $199,000. The trial was a bench trial. The trial judge believed that Marcus’s testimony was speculative, and without explanation awarded Curtis’s estate just $53,000 in damages. The trial court might have taken into account the support Curtis’s sons would have required when it calculated the damages award. Curtis’s estate moved for a new trial. The court denied this motion, but amended its damages award to include an additional $13,000 for attorneys’ fees. Curtis’s estate appealed. The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s addition of attorneys’ fees, reducing the award to the original $53,000. The supreme court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pollock, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 458,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 458,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial