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Krouse v. Graham

Supreme Court of California
19 Cal. 3d 59, 137 Cal. Rptr. 863, 562 P.2d 1022 (1977)


A car driven by Homer Graham (defendant) struck a parked car in which Benjamin and Elizabeth Krouse and their neighbor were sitting. Elizabeth was killed in the collision, and Benjamin was injured. Benjamin and the Krouses’ five children (Krouses) (plaintiffs) brought a wrongful-death action against Graham. Graham admitted liability, and the only issue at trial was determining the amount of recoverable damages. The trial court instructed the jury that Benjamin could recover damages for nonpecuniary losses, including the loss of Elizabeth’s love, companionship, affection, society, and sexual relations, as well as the loss of physical assistance in the maintenance of their home. The trial court subsequently instructed the jury that the Krouses could recover compensation for the pecuniary losses that each of the Krouses had suffered due to Elizabeth’s death, including the “pecuniary value of the society, comfort, protection, and right to receive support.” The jury awarded damages in the amount of $442,000 to Benjamin and $300,000 to the children. Graham appealed, arguing that the trial court should not have instructed the jury that the Krouses were entitled to recover for nonpecuniary losses.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Richardson, J.)

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