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Kaczkowski v. Bolubasz

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
421 A.2d 1027 (1980)


Facts

Eric Kaczkowski was killed when the vehicle he was riding in as a passenger was involved in an accident. As administrator of Eric’s estate, Theodore Kaczkowski filed a wrongful death suit against the driver of the vehicle, John Bolubasz (defendant). After a trial, the jury found Bolubasz liable. Upon Kaczkowski’s motion for a new trial, the matter was returned to the trial court for a retrial on the issue of damages alone. The trial court instructed the jury to determine Eric’s lost future earning power by considering his personal characteristics in order to calculate his potential gross earnings for the period of Eric’s work life expectancy; to determine Eric’s maintenance costs from the gross earnings to produce net earnings; and then to discount the net earnings to present value by six percent simple interest. Based on the trial court’s instructions, the jury returned a verdict of $30,000 for Eric’s estate. Kaczkowski appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in excluding economic evidence showing the impact of inflation and increased productivity on Eric’s future earning power. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Nix, J.)

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