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Hawkins v. McGee

Supreme Court of New Hampshire
146 A. 641 (1929)



Edward McGee (defendant), a surgeon, performed a procedure on George Hawkins (plaintiff) designed to remove scar tissue from Hawkins’s hand and replace it with a skin graft from Hawkins’s chest. When asked by Hawkins and his father for more information about the operation, McGee allegedly guaranteed to make a “one hundred percent good” hand. Hawkins and his father agreed to the operation, but it was performed unsuccessfully. Because McGee had grafted skin from Hawkins's chest, the graft caused thick hair to grow on Hawkins's palm. Hawkins brought suit against McGee on the ground that McGee violated an alleged warranty for the success of the operation. The trial court instructed the jury that if it found Hawkins was entitled to relief, it should award him damages based on his pain and suffering from the operation, as well as the additional ill effects he suffered from the operation beyond his existing injury. The jury awarded damages to Hawkins. McGee moved to set aside the verdict, arguing among other things that it was against the weight of the law and the evidence and was excessive. The trial court denied McGee's motion regarding his challenge to the evidentiary and legal support for the verdict. However, the court agreed with McGee that the verdict was excessive and said that if Hawkins did not return the damages awarded above $500, the verdict would be set aside. Hawkins refused, and the court set aside the verdict. Hawkins appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Branch, J.)

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