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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) mounted a curb, striking Elizabeth Krouse and her neighbor (plaintiff) as well as the Krouse’s car, which was parked nearby and occupied by Elizabeth’s husband, Benjamin Krouse (plaintiff). Elizabeth died and Benjamin and the neighbor suffered injuries. Benjamin, the Krouse’s five children (plaintiffs), and the neighbor asserted multiple tort claims against Graham. Graham admitted to liability, but the parties went to trial to determine damages. Regarding a wrongful-death claim by Benjamin and the Krouse children, the trial judge issued a jury instruction that in addition to damages for pecuniary, or monetary, losses arising from Elizabeth’s death, the Krouses could recover damages for their emotional distress. The judge also issued an instruction that Benjamin could recover damages for the loss of Elizabeth’s love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, moral support, and sexual relations. On the wrongful-death claim, the jury awarded the Krouses $300,000. Graham appealed to the California Supreme Court, arguing that California law did not allow recovery of damages for nonpecuniary losses in wrongful-death cases.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Richardson, J.)
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