TORTS: MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE: DAMAGES: FUTURE NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES: A VERDICT IS NOT INADEQUATE AS A MATTER OF LAW IF THE JURY FINDS THAT THE PLAINTIFF SUSTAINED A PERMANENT INJURY BUT FAILS TO AWARD FUTURE NONECONOMIC DAMAGES: THE PROPER INQUIRY IS WHETHER THE VERDICT IS CONTRARY TO THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE; APPEALS: TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY GRANTING NEW TRIAL BASED UPON AN ERRONEOUS VIEW OF THE LAW: APPELLATE COURT REMANDS FOR RECONSIDERATION UNDER CORRECT LEGAL PRINCIPLES

Buitrago v. Feaster, ___ So. 3d ___, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D81 (Fla. 2d DCA December 31, 2014)

The jury in a motor vehicle negligence case awarded damages to the plaintiff for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and past noneconomic damages but awarded nothing for future noneconomic damages. The plaintiff moved for a new trial on future noneconomic damages, contending that an award of future noneconomic damages was compulsory based upon the finding that the plaintiff sustained a permanent injury. The trial court granted the motion without explanation. As a result, the appellate felt compelled to conclude that the trial court’s ruling was based upon the plaintiff’s argument, which was rejected by the Florida Supreme Court in Allstate Insurance Company v. Manasse, 707 So. 2d 1110 (Fla. 1998). The trial court should have determined whether the verdict was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence, but the plaintiff did not base its motion upon this standard, and the trial court failed to consider it. As a result, the appellate court remanded for reconsideration based upon the correct legal standard.

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