Licudine v. Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr.Annotate this Case
After plaintiff suffered injury during a gallbladder surgery that will have lifelong repercussions, she filed suit for malpractice, and sought damages for the resulting diminution in her earning capacity. The court held that the jury must fix a plaintiff’s future earning capacity based on what it is “reasonably probable” she could have earned. In this case, because plaintiff did not adduce any evidence to establish that it was “reasonably probable” she could have obtained employment as an attorney or any evidence on the earnings of lawyers, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the jury’s $730,000 award for lost earning capacity was not supported by substantial evidence. The court also concluded that, given the unusual facts of this case, the trial court acted within its discretion in granting a new trial on damages rather than entering a judgment notwithstanding the verdict for defendants. Accordingly, the court affirmed the grant of a new trial on damages, and provided additional guidance as to a handful of evidentiary issues likely to arise during the retrial.