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Huff v. White Motor Corporation

609 F.2d 286 (1979)

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Huff v. White Motor Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

609 F.2d 286 (1979)

Facts

Jessee Huff died at 51 years old from injuries suffered when his truck-tractor jackknifed and crashed. Jessee had a life expectancy of 23 years and a work life expectancy of 14.1 years. Jessee earned almost $10,000 annually. At trial, an expert economist calculated Jessee’s lost earnings at $267,907 and fringe benefits at $60,132 with a present-value economic loss of $285,600. Jessee and Helen Huff (plaintiff) were married for 30 years and raised four children. The family had moved only once during marriage. Jessee had changed jobs only once. The Huffs loved each other, and Helen relied on Jessee for advice in making all important decisions. Helen sued White Motor Corporation (defendant), which manufactured the truck-tractor, for Jessee’s death, originally seeking $200,000 in damages. However, Helen amended her complaint and ultimately asked for $575,000 in damages. Helen’s counsel asked the jury to award $285,600 for economic loss, $115,000 for the loss of Jessee’s counseling and guidance, and $276,000 for the loss of love and affection, for a total of $676,600. The jury awarded Helen $700,000, including $414,400 awarded for the loss of Jessee’s counseling and guidance and love and affection. White Motor appealed, arguing that the $414,400 awarded for the loss of Jessee’s counseling and guidance and love and affection was too high, and that the $700,000 verdict was excessive and should be set aside.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tone, J.)

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