Farm worker's appeal of jury award (and $15,000 for future pain) is rejected
Richard Latting, Jr., was struck by a tractor driven by David Clay on David Pennell's farm. The jury allocated ten percent fault to the owner, sixty percent to the driver and thirty percent to Latting, and awarded damages totaling $33,000 for liened medical expenses, and $68,000 for Latting's personal damages. Latting appealed the verdict on several grounds, and the owner appealed arguing the case should have been dismissed.
Latting first objected that he should have been able to admit an x-ray taken 12 days before trial because it confirmed his disputed injuries. The appellate panel agreed with the trial court that while Latting and his doctors could talk about his current condition, the defense did not have adequate warning of the x-ray to prepare to respond to its admission.
The plaintiff's attorneys also argued on appeal that the jury's award of only $15,000 for future noneconomic damages was clearly inadequate and inconsistent with the medical evidence. The appellate court noted that Latting had resumed virtually all of his pre-injury activities and refused to "second-guess" the jury's very limited damage award.