Post-Trial Motion for Additur Granted, Increasing Mesothelioma Pain and Suffering Damages Supreme Court of New York, December 18, 2015
The plaintiff’s decedent, Richard Voelker, was diagnosed with and died from mesothelioma. A personal injury action was pursued and resulted in a verdict awarding the Estate various damages, including a pain and suffering award of $250,000. The plaintiff filed a post-trial motion for additur arguing that the jury’s award for pain and suffering was inadequate compensation for Mr. Voelker’s “extraordinarily horrific” suffering. The court granted the motion, increasing the pain and suffering award to $600,000.
The court cited to the plaintiff’s video trial testimony and various medical evidence showing that Mr. Voelker had undergone a lengthy, and painful surgery with complications and two chemotherapy treatments both resulting in lengthy hospitalizations for complications. In describing the evidence, the court stated that “this undisputed evidence shows the rapid deterioration of a 65-year-old healthy, active man, who worked full-time, to an essentially helpless, dependent patient.” Based upon this evidence, the court determined that “after reviewing an array of pain and suffering awards, and where possible, the details of the plaintiffs’ circumstances, in both mesothelioma and non-mesothelioma cases, limited to the Eighth Judicial District, this court finds that the jury’s award of damages for decedent’s conscious pain and suffering deviates materially from what would be reasonable compensation.”
The court also denied defendant John Crane’s post-trial motion seeking relief from the jury’s failure to apportion liability to Garlock, reasoning that even though plaintiff conceded in his summation that Mr. Voelker was exposed to asbestos from Garlock gaskets, John Crane had failed to prove whether Garlock knew or should have known of the dangers of asbestos.