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Donovan v. Penn Shipping Co.

United States Supreme Court
429 U.S. 648 (1977)


Facts

Donovan (plaintiff), a sailor and then employee of Penn Shipping Co. (Penn) (defendant), slipped on wet paint and broke his wrist aboard one of Penn’s ships. He brought suit under the Jones Act and the jury found in his favor, awarding him a $90,000 verdict. Penn filed a motion requesting the court to remit the verdict as excessive. The court agreed to either remit the verdict to $65,000 or order a new trial. Donovan accepted the remitted award but did so under protest, reserving the ability to appeal the remittitur. The trial judge incorporated Donovan’s language in the order, and Donovan appealed the remittitur and requested a new trial. The court of appeals denied the appeal, upholding the settled rule that a plaintiff may not seek the reinstatement of a remitted judgment when he has accepted the remittitur. Donovan appealed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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