2020 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 12 - Damages
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 51-12-12. Court Interference With Jury Verdict as to Damages
- The question of damages is ordinarily one for the jury; and the court should not interfere with the jury's verdict unless the damages awarded by the jury are clearly so inadequate or so excessive as to be inconsistent with the preponderance of the evidence in the case.
- If the jury's award of damages is clearly so inadequate or so excessive as to any party as to be inconsistent with the preponderance of the evidence, the trial court may order a new trial as to damages only, as to any or all parties, or may condition the grant of such a new trial upon any party's refusal to accept an amount determined by the trial court.
- Only one grant of a new trial by the judge may be based upon the powers conferred by this Code section. The first grant of a new trial other than one ordered under this Code section and which order granting the new trial is not based on this Code section shall remain governed by Code Section 5-5-50.
(Orig. Code 1863, § 2888; Code 1868, § 2896; Code 1873, § 2947; Code 1882, § 2947; Civil Code 1895, § 3803; Civil Code 1910, § 4399; Code 1933, § 105-2015; Ga. L. 1987, p. 915, § 7.)Law reviews.
- For article, "The Effect of the Mandated Discount Rate on the Value of Wrongful Death Awards in Georgia," see 52 Mercer L. Rev. 1147 (2001). For article, "Of Frivolous Litigation and Runaway Juries: A View from the Bench," see 41 Ga. L. Rev. 431 (2007). For comment, "Are Excessive Punitive Damages Unconstitutional in Georgia?: This Question and More in Colonial Pipeline Co. v. Brown," see 6 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 85 (1989).JUDICIAL DECISIONS
- General Consideration
- Second Trials and Appeals
- Applicability to Specific Cases
Future mental suffering is compensable, and whether the effects of the injury are temporary or permanent remains a jury question. Valdosta Hous. Auth. v. Finnessee, 160 Ga. App. 552, 287 S.E.2d 569 (1981).
General damages are such as law presumes to flow from any tortious act, and may be recovered without proof of any amount and it is left with the enlightened conscience of fair and impartial jurors to say what amount would compensate the plaintiff for the injury inflicted. Ingram v. Kendrick, 48 Ga. App. 278, 172 S.E. 815 (1934).
When there is no direct proof of prejudice or bias on the part of a jury, an appellate court can set aside the verdict as excessive only when the amount, considered in connection with all the facts in evidence at trial, shakes the moral senses, i.e., the verdict must carry its death warrant on the verdict's face; however, such issues must be determined from the trial transcript, and when no transcript was either ordered or made for a trial in which a jury entered a judgment against a mortgage company, and the mortgage company made no attempt to have the trial court make a transcript or a reconstructed transcript of the proceedings approved by the trial judge, the appellate court assumed that the judgment was correct and supported by the evidence.
Damages are compensation for injury sustained, and burden of showing damages is on the complainant. Brooks v. Williams, 127 Ga. App. 311, 193 S.E.2d 231 (1972).
Jurors are not bound to accept as correct opinion evidence concerning value of property, though uncontradicted, and by the jurors' verdict, the jurors may fix either a lower or higher value upon the property than that stated in the opinion and estimates of the witnesses. Curl v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 243 Ga. 842, 257 S.E.2d 264 (1979).
Value fixed by jury could be higher or lower than that of opinion of expert, provided the verdict is not palpably unreasonable under all the evidence. DOT v. Driggers, 150 Ga. App. 270, 257 S.E.2d 294 (1979).Small award based on subjective pain upheld.
- An award of $100.00 was proper because it was not flagrantly inadequate in light of the expert testimony regarding the subjective character of the alleged pain and suffering: to set aside such an award would have transgressed upon the providence of the jurors who determined the award based on the claimant's credibility and the expert evidence. Turpin v. Worley, 206 Ga. App. 341, 425 S.E.2d 895 (1992).
Verdict may be rendered for less than amount of plaintiff's proved medical expenses and be held not to be so inadequate as to require a new trial. Johnson v. Cook, 123 Ga. App. 302, 180 S.E.2d 591 (1971).
Trial court properly affirmed the jury's damages award in a medical malpractice suit when the patient's own expert testified that only the failure to diagnose an ankle fracture earlier violated the standard of care, but the expert declined to specify a date when that violation occurred; the expert also testified that the treatment recommended for a sprain could also work for a break or a fracture, and that the patient would have incurred some of the medical expenses for treatment of the injured ankle regardless of any malpractice. Kohl v. Tirado, 256 Ga. App. 681, 569 S.E.2d 576 (2002).
Excessive or inadequate verdict constitutes mistake of fact rather than of law. It addresses itself to the discretion of the trial judge who saw the witnesses and heard the testimony. The Court of Appeals is a court for the correction of errors of law only, and its jurisdiction is confined to the question of whether the trial court abused the court's discretion in overruling the motion for a new trial on this ground. Atlanta Transit Sys. v. Robinson, 134 Ga. App. 170, 213 S.E.2d 547 (1975); Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Towns, 156 Ga. App. 24, 274 S.E.2d 74 (1980).
There is presumption that verdict of jury is based upon fair consideration of all matters presented to it. Brown v. Service Coach Lines, 71 Ga. App. 437, 31 S.E.2d 236 (1944).
Presumptions are in favor of validity of verdict of jury, and the verdict should be construed so as to stand, if practicable. Johnson v. Cook, 123 Ga. App. 302, 180 S.E.2d 591 (1971).
In an action by the buyer of a restaurant against the sellers, alleging trespass, conversion, and breach of contract when the sellers re-entered the premises three months after the sale, changed the locks, and began operating the restaurant as the sellers' own, there was some evidence supporting the jury's award of $360,675 damages to the buyer. The trial court's approval of the verdict creates a presumption of correctness which is not to be disturbed absent compelling evidence. Caldwell v. Church, 353 Ga. App. 141, 836 S.E.2d 594 (2019).Trial judge cannot reduce award.
- O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12 does not authorize a trial judge to reduce a damage award and deny a motion for new trial. Spence v. Hilliard, 260 Ga. 107, 389 S.E.2d 753 (1990).
Even though the defendant did not appeal the trial court's order denying the defendant's motion for new trial or cross-appeal the order granting the reduction in the punitive damage award, because the issue of the grant of a new trial on damages was material to the propriety of the court's order reducing the damage award, the order reducing the damage award was vacated and the case remanded for reconsideration. Dunn v. Five Star Dodge-Jeep-Eagle-Mazda, Inc., 245 Ga. App. 378, 537 S.E.2d 782 (2000).
Excessive damages are such as to shock the moral sense to such an extent as to lead to the belief that the jury was actuated by undue or improper motives or influences. Candler v. Smith, 50 Ga. App. 667, 179 S.E. 395 (1935); Langran v. Hodges, 60 Ga. App. 567, 4 S.E.2d 489 (1939).
An excessive verdict, such as would authorize the court to set aside the verdict of a jury, would have to be a verdict for a sum not authorized under the evidence or for such a large amount as would shock the moral sense to such an extent as to lead to the belief that the jury were actuated by undue or improper motives or influences. Sinclair v. Kelly, 50 Ga. App. 135, 177 S.E. 348 (1934).
Trial court properly denied a bank's motion for a new trial, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 5-5-23, in a customer's slip and fall action wherein judgment was rendered in the customer's favor, since the bank argued that the amount awarded for the customer's pain and suffering was excessive under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(a), as the evidence did not support a finding that the damages awarded were so flagrantly excessive or inadequate, in light of the evidence, as to create a clear implication of bias, prejudice, or gross mistake by the jurors. Patterson Bank v. Gunter, 263 Ga. App. 424, 588 S.E.2d 270 (2003).Discretion of trial court.
- Trial court properly concluded that in the absence of a timely filed pleading rejecting reduced damages award, it became the final judgment in the case accepted by the parties for the purpose of ending the litigation; the trial judge's actions determining that the jury award was excessive, calculating an appropriate damages award, and giving the parties the opportunity to accept or reject the trial court's award, were a proper exercise of discretion within the authority of O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12. Jacobsen v. Haldi, 210 Ga. App. 817, 437 S.E.2d 819 (1993).
Trial court did not err in the court's calculation of damages because the trial court, acting as finder of fact, issued an award well within the range of evidence and testimony presented at trial; that the amount the trial court awarded exceeded the amount of commissions paid to a former employee was irrelevant. Sitton v. Print Direction, Inc., 312 Ga. App. 365, 718 S.E.2d 532 (2011).Prejudice must be clearly demonstrated.
- The existence of prejudice or bias cannot rest upon suspicion. That the verdict was the result of prejudice and bias must be shown. Brown v. Service Coach Lines, 71 Ga. App. 437, 31 S.E.2d 236 (1944).
Gross mistake or undue bias, unless directly shown, do not appear circumstantially except when there is no other reasonable hypothesis which will explain the amount of an award. Atlanta Veterans Transp., Inc. v. Cagle, 106 Ga. App. 551, 127 S.E.2d 702 (1962).Smaller award permissible if evidence shows some fault on both sides.
- When the evidence authorizes the jury to find that both parties are at fault, but the defendant slightly more so, so as to give the plaintiff a cause of action, a verdict for a small amount of damages is proper and should not be disturbed. Hunt v. Western & A.R.R., 49 Ga. App. 33, 174 S.E. 222 (1934); Jordan v. Ellis, 148 Ga. App. 286, 250 S.E.2d 859 (1978).
Inasmuch as the evidence authorized the jury to apply the rule of comparative negligence and the judge charged the jury in this respect, and an application of the law could, under a finding that the plaintiff was negligent almost to the same extent as the defendant, reduce the damages recoverable virtually to the point of extinction, there is no basis for the court to justify an inference of gross mistake or undue bias, and the verdict should not be disturbed for this reason. Baggett v. Jackson, 79 Ga. App. 460, 54 S.E.2d 146 (1949).
Under the comparative negligence rule, the jury may apportion damages as the jury determines within the jury's discretion to be proper when the evidence shows all parties' negligence contributed to the injuries, the plaintiff's to a lesser degree than the defendants'. Thus, when the evidence authorized the application of the comparative negligence rule, inadequacy of the verdict would not appear simply because the amount awarded a party is smaller than the amount sought. Jordan v. Ellis, 148 Ga. App. 286, 250 S.E.2d 859 (1978).
Damages awarded were not so inadequate as to justify the inference of gross mistake, undue bias, and prejudice on the part of the jury. Generally speaking, when comparative negligence is involved under the pleadings and the evidence, a verdict for damages for personal injuries cannot properly be set aside on the ground that the verdict is inadequate. Palo v. Meisenheimer, 199 Ga. App. 24, 403 S.E.2d 881 (1991). But see Head v. CSX Transp., Inc., 235 Ga. App. 469, 508 S.E.2d 760 (1998).Diminutive award may show undue bias when defendant's liability clear.
- When the jury by the jury's verdict has found that the defendant is legally liable to the plaintiff in tort, the diminutive damages awarded justify the inference of gross mistake or undue bias within the meaning of this section. Brewer v. Gittings, 102 Ga. App. 367, 116 S.E.2d 500 (1960).Unauthorized charge may be harmless error.
- An unauthorized charge on the measure of damages is held to be harmless when the actual award of damages does not exceed the amount which the jury would have been authorized to award under an authorized charge. Hall v. Chastain, 246 Ga. 782, 273 S.E.2d 12 (1980).
Only measuring stick for pain and suffering is the enlightened conscience of impartial jurors. Johnson v. Cook, 123 Ga. App. 302, 180 S.E.2d 591 (1971); Atlanta Transit Sys. v. Robinson, 134 Ga. App. 170, 213 S.E.2d 547 (1975).
Recovery for past and present, as well as future, pain and suffering is determined solely by the enlightened conscience of an impartial jury. Wayco Enters., Inc. v. Crews, 155 Ga. App. 775, 272 S.E.2d 745 (1980).
Punitive and mental damages present jury question. Questions concerning the amount of damages to be awarded for mental pain and suffering under former Code 1933, § 105-2003 (see now O.C.G.A. § 51-12-6), and as punitive damages under former Code 1933, § 105-2002 (see now O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5), were for the enlightened conscience of the jury. Curl v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 243 Ga. 842, 257 S.E.2d 264 (1979).Directed verdict permissible when no factual dispute.
- When there is no dispute as to the facts, and they amount to a confession of liability as a matter of law, a directed verdict is warranted. Collins v. McGlamory, 152 Ga. App. 114, 262 S.E.2d 262 (1979).
Cited in Moore v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 48 Ga. App. 185, 172 S.E. 680 (1934); Slaughter v. Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 48 Ga. App. 327, 172 S.E. 723 (1934); Evans v. Caldwell, 52 Ga. App. 475, 184 S.E. 440 (1936); Jackson v. Ely, 56 Ga. App. 763, 194 S.E. 40 (1937); Morris v. Stanford, 58 Ga. App. 726, 199 S.E. 773 (1938); Henry Chanin Corp. v. Dumas, 65 Ga. App. 820, 16 S.E.2d 603 (1941); Head v. Georgia Power Co., 70 Ga. App. 32, 27 S.E.2d 339 (1943); Halliburton v. Collier, 75 Ga. App. 316, 43 S.E.2d 339 (1947); Georgia Automatic Gas Co. v. Fowler, 77 Ga. App. 675, 49 S.E.2d 550 (1948); Criswell Baking Co. v. Milligan, 77 Ga. App. 861, 50 S.E.2d 136 (1948); Atlanta & W. Point R.R. v. Gilbert, 82 Ga. App. 244, 60 S.E.2d 787 (1950); Russell v. Bass, 82 Ga. App. 659, 62 S.E.2d 456 (1950); Tifton Brick & Block Co. v. Meadow, 92 Ga. App. 328, 88 S.E.2d 569 (1955); Motor Convoy, Inc. v. Moore, 92 Ga. App. 551, 88 S.E.2d 727 (1955); Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Godard, 93 Ga. App. 671, 92 S.E.2d 626 (1956); Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Floyd, 249 F.2d 396 (5th Cir. 1957); Beecher v. Farley, 104 Ga. App. 785, 123 S.E.2d 184 (1961); Rosenthal v. O'Neal, 108 Ga. App. 54, 132 S.E.2d 150 (1963); Stynchcombe v. Gooding Amusement Co., 110 Ga. App. 864, 140 S.E.2d 232 (1965); NAACP v. Overstreet, 221 Ga. 16, 142 S.E.2d 816 (1965); Rackard v. Merritt, 114 Ga. App. 743, 152 S.E.2d 701 (1966); Kirkman v. Miller, 116 Ga. App. 78, 156 S.E.2d 558 (1967); Davis v. Camp Concrete Prods. Co., 122 Ga. App. 551, 177 S.E.2d 798 (1970); Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Wallace, 227 Ga. 363, 180 S.E.2d 743 (1971); Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Duncan, 123 Ga. App. 479, 181 S.E.2d 535 (1971); Garner v. Victory Express, Inc., 264 Ga. 171, 442 S.E.2d 455 (1994); Sharp v. Thomas, 125 Ga. App. 137, 186 S.E.2d 589 (1971); Smith v. Tri-State Culvert Mfg. Co., 126 Ga. App. 508, 191 S.E.2d 92 (1972); Cochran v. Lynch, 126 Ga. App. 866, 192 S.E.2d 165 (1972); Taylor v. Roberson, 127 Ga. App. 24, 192 S.E.2d 384 (1972); North Ga. Petro. Co. v. Lewis, 128 Ga. App. 653, 197 S.E.2d 437 (1973); West Ga. Pulpwood & Timber Co. v. Stephens, 128 Ga. App. 864, 198 S.E.2d 420 (1973); Crossley v. Collins, 128 Ga. App. 889, 198 S.E.2d 428 (1973); Drake v. Shurbutt, 129 Ga. App. 754, 201 S.E.2d 184 (1973); Kerr v. Mims, 130 Ga. App. 54, 202 S.E.2d 244 (1973); Fargason v. Pervis, 138 Ga. App. 686, 227 S.E.2d 464 (1976); Venable v. State Hwy. Dep't, 138 Ga. App. 788, 227 S.E.2d 509 (1976); Pilkenton v. Eubanks, 139 Ga. App. 673, 229 S.E.2d 146 (1976); Elsberry v. Lewis, 140 Ga. App. 324, 231 S.E.2d 789 (1976); Murray v. Toney, 141 Ga. App. 57, 232 S.E.2d 395 (1977); Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co. v. C & S Realty Co., 141 Ga. App. 216, 233 S.E.2d 9 (1977); Paschal v. Chester, 141 Ga. App. 172, 233 S.E.2d 30 (1977); E.H. Siler Realty & Bus. Broker, Inc. v. Darty, 143 Ga. App. 433, 238 S.E.2d 766 (1977); Leigh v. Fears, 145 Ga. App. 644, 244 S.E.2d 616 (1978); Krystal Co. v. Butler, 149 Ga. App. 696, 256 S.E.2d 96 (1979); Atlanta Recycled Fiber Co. v. Tri-Cities Steel Co., 152 Ga. App. 259, 262 S.E.2d 554 (1979); Central of Ga. R.R. v. Howard, 161 Ga. App. 560, 288 S.E.2d 347 (1982); Hill v. Nelson, 676 F.2d 1371 (11th Cir. 1982); Reliance Ins. Co. v. Bridges, 168 Ga. App. 874, 311 S.E.2d 193 (1983); Ray v. Stinson, 172 Ga. App. 718, 324 S.E.2d 506 (1984); Bob Lairsey Ins. Agency v. Allen, 180 Ga. App. 11, 348 S.E.2d 658 (1986); Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co. v. Turner, 180 Ga. App. 533, 349 S.E.2d 537 (1986); Davis v. Glaze, 182 Ga. App. 18, 354 S.E.2d 845 (1987); McKinney & Co. v. Lawson, 257 Ga. 222, 357 S.E.2d 786 (1987); Southeastern Ambulance Corp. v. Freeman, 185 Ga. App. 119, 363 S.E.2d 571 (1987); Simpson v. Reed, 186 Ga. App. 297, 367 S.E.2d 563 (1988); BWP, Inc. v. Woodson, 196 Ga. App. 768, 397 S.E.2d 43 (1990); Salvador v. Coppinger, 198 Ga. App. 386, 401 S.E.2d 590 (1991); Roboserve, Ltd. v. Tom's Foods, Inc., 931 F.2d 789 (11th Cir. 1991); Mansfield v. Pizza Hut of Am., Inc., 202 Ga. App. 601, 415 S.E.2d 51 (1992); Perryman v. Rosenbaum, 205 Ga. App. 784, 423 S.E.2d 673 (1993); Wood v. Browning-Ferris Indus. of Ga., Inc., 206 Ga. App. 707, 426 S.E.2d 186 (1992); Oglethorpe Power Corp. v. Sheriff, 210 Ga. App. 299, 436 S.E.2d 14 (1993); Grange Mut. Cas. Co. v. Williams, 220 Ga. App. 613, 469 S.E.2d 845 (1996); Southeastern Sec. Ins. Co. v. Hotle, 222 Ga. App. 161, 473 S.E.2d 256 (1996); Sykes v. Sin, 229 Ga. App. 155, 493 S.E.2d 571 (1997); K-Mart Corp. v. Lovett, 241 Ga. App. 26, 525 S.E.2d 751 (1999); Hammond v. Lee, 244 Ga. App. 865, 536 S.E.2d 231 (2000); Phillips v. Singleton, 245 Ga. App. 788, 539 S.E.2d 177 (2000); ARA Health Servs. v. Stitt, 250 Ga. App. 420, 551 S.E.2d 793 (2001); Wallace v. Stringer, 250 Ga. App. 850, 553 S.E.2d 166 (2001); Middlebrooks v. Hillcrest Foods Inc., 256 F.3d 1241 (11th Cir. 2001); Marzullo v. Jim Ellis Motors, Inc., 253 Ga. App. 706, 560 S.E.2d 309 (2002); McCormick v. Harris, 253 Ga. App. 417, 559 S.E.2d 158 (2002); Beam v. Kingsley, 255 Ga. App. 715, 566 S.E.2d 437 (2002); Mason v. Ford Motor Co., 307 F.3d 1271 (11th Cir. 2002); Chadwick v. Brazell, 331 Ga. App. 373, 771 S.E.2d 75 (2015).
Second Trials and Appeals
Direct appeal of a court's interference with jury verdict.
- The proper procedure for a direct appeal of a court's interference with a jury verdict under subsection (b) of O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12 is to appeal within 30 days from the final resolution of the matter. Three Crowns Antiques, Ltd. v. Jerrell, 244 Ga. App. 456, 535 S.E.2d 827 (2000).Conditional grant of motion for new trial.
- The phrase "any party's refusal" refers to the party adversely affected by either the grant of a new trial or the modified damages award; therefore, a trial court may condition the granting of a new trial on the plaintiff's refusal to remit the portion of the jury award that the court determines is excessive. Lisle v. Willis, 265 Ga. 861, 463 S.E.2d 108 (1995).
Conditioning the grant of a new trial on the plaintiff's refusal to remit a portion of the jury award that the court determined was excessive did not violate the plaintiff's constitutional right to a jury trial. Lisle v. Willis, 265 Ga. 861, 463 S.E.2d 108 (1995).New trial must encompass liability.
- In a comparative negligence case, the trial court erred in limiting the grant of a new trial on the issue of damages only; the grant of a new trial in such a case must encompass issues of liability as well as damages. Head v. CSX Transp., Inc., 271 Ga. 670, 524 S.E.2d 215 (1999).Setting aside verdict as excessive.
- Verdict will not be set aside as excessive by the Court of Appeals unless it manifestly appears from the record that it was the result of prejudice, bias, corruption, or gross mistake. Holtsinger v. Scarborough, 71 Ga. App. 318, 30 S.E.2d 835 (1944).
Court did not abuse the court's discretion in denying the defendants' request to set aside an award of compensatory damages to a customer in an action alleging that, contrary to their agreement, the defendants aired television commercials in Georgia that contained before-and-after pictures of the customer's hair replacement treatments because the award was not excessive under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(a). There was no evidence of flagrancy. Zieve v. Hairston, 266 Ga. App. 753, 598 S.E.2d 25 (2004).
If the award is not so flagrant as to "shock the conscience," it will not be disturbed on appeal. Stover v. Atchley, 189 Ga. App. 56, 374 S.E.2d 775 (1988), cert. denied, 189 Ga. App. 913, 374 S.E.2d 775 (1989).
When the amount of a verdict is attacked merely for excessiveness, and not for the inclusion of some calculable amount definitely ascertainable from the undisputed evidence, and the verdict has been approved by the trial court, it will not be set aside unless the amount is so excessive as to manifest undue bias or prejudice, gross mistake, or improper motive, on the part of the jury. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Lovett, 50 Ga. App. 763, 179 S.E. 253 (1935).
The verdict of a jury cannot be held to be excessive unless manifestly resulting from prejudice, bias, or other corrupt motive of the jury. Langran v. Hodges, 60 Ga. App. 567, 4 S.E.2d 489 (1939).
In the absence of any showing that verdict in a personal injury case was the result of bias, prejudice, or mistake on the part of the jury, the appellate court will not hold as a matter of law that the verdict was excessive. Allyn & Bacon Book Publishing Co. v. Nicholson, 61 Ga. App. 672, 7 S.E.2d 316 (1940).
When the item of damage complained of in a motion for a new trial could only be measured by the enlightened conscience of intelligent jurors, and the amount assessed is substantial, the appellate court ought not to set aside the verdict of the jury on the ground of inadequacy simply because the damages are, in its opinion, inadequate, unless it clearly appears that the verdict is so small as to afford evidence of a gross mistake or undue bias. Brown v. Service Coach Lines, 71 Ga. App. 437, 31 S.E.2d 236 (1944).
A verdict of a jury cannot be held to be excessive unless it be manifestly the result of prejudice or bias, or other corrupt motive. Saul Klenberg Co. v. Mrozinski, 78 Ga. App. 59, 50 S.E.2d 247 (1948).
The appellate court has no power to review the finding of the jury because the verdict is claimed to be excessive unless it is clear from the record that their finding was prejudiced or biased or was procured by corrupt means. Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Wells, 78 Ga. App. 859, 52 S.E.2d 496 (1949); Kell v. Hunter, 84 Ga. App. 792, 67 S.E.2d 597 (1951).
In the absence of a showing of prejudice, bias, or corrupt means, the verdict of a jury, supported by the evidence and approved by the trial judge who saw the witnesses testifying, will not be disturbed by the appellate court on the ground that the verdict is excessive. Kell v. Hunter, 84 Ga. App. 792, 67 S.E.2d 597 (1951).
The appellate court does not have as broad discretionary powers as are conferred on trial judges in setting aside verdicts as excessive; when a case comes before the appellate court, after the refusal of a new trial by the presiding judge, it comes not only with the presumption in favor of the verdict, but also stamped with the approval of the judge who tried the case, and when no prejudice or bias or corrupt means in reaching the verdict appear, such court is not authorized to set the verdict aside as being excessive. Shepherd Constr. Co. v. Vaughn, 88 Ga. App. 285, 76 S.E.2d 647 (1953).
Although a verdict may be "large and generous," when the evidence abundantly authorizes a finding for the plaintiff, the court does not feel authorized under the law to set the verdict aside on the sole ground that the verdict is excessive, there being nothing in the record to indicate prejudice or bias on the part of the jury, and the verdict having been approved by the trial judge. Fields v. Jackson, 102 Ga. App. 117, 115 S.E.2d 877 (1960).
Court of Appeals does not have the broad discretionary powers invested in trial courts to set aside verdicts, and when the trial court before whom the witnesses appeared had the opportunity of personally observing the witnesses, including the plaintiff on the stand, and has approved the verdict, the appellate court is without power to interfere unless it is clear from the record that the verdict of the jury was prejudiced or biased or was procured by corrupt means. Kiker v. Davis, 103 Ga. App. 289, 118 S.E.2d 861 (1961).
When a case comes before the appeals court, after the refusal of a new trial by the presiding judge, it comes not only with the presumption in favor of the verdict, but also stamped with the approval of the judge who tried the case, and when no prejudice or bias or corrupt means in reaching the verdict appear, the appeals court is not authorized to set the verdict aside as being excessive. Jones v. Spindel, 128 Ga. App. 88, 196 S.E.2d 22 (1973), overruled on other grounds, Monumental Properties of Ga., Inc. v. Frontier Disposal, Inc., 159 Ga. App. 35, 282 S.E.2d 660 (1981).
In order to set a verdict aside as excessive the evidence must be shown to be so unreasonable as to show that it was the result of passion, prejudice, partiality or undue bias on the part of the jury. Calloway v. Rossman, 150 Ga. App. 381, 257 S.E.2d 913 (1979).
If the law authorized a recovery and there is evidence to support the verdict, and nothing in the record shows that it resulted from gross mistake, undue bias or prejudice, or from other corrupt motives, this court is not authorized to set it aside upon the ground that it is excessive. Suber v. Fountain, 151 Ga. App. 283, 259 S.E.2d 685 (1979).Judicial review of verdict.
- Supreme Court disapproves of Robinson v. Star Gas of Hawkinsville, Inc., 498 S.E.2d 524 (1998), which held, inter alia, that purportedly inadequate damage awards are subject to judicial review in comparative fault cases, to the extent that it can be read to suggest that appellate courts may review a jury's verdict to determine whether it was consistent with a preponderance of the evidence adduced at trial. That task is reserved for the trial court. Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans, 306 Ga. 847, 834 S.E.2d 77 (2019).
It was error for the court of appeals to conclude that the zero damages award for past pain and suffering was clearly inadequate under a preponderance of the evidence because the court of appeals could not substitute the court's judgment for that of the trial court on the fact-based question of whether the damages awarded were within the range authorized by a preponderance of the evidence; the court of appeals should have limited the appellate's court review to whether the trial court, who saw the witnesses and heard the testimony, abused the court's discretion in denying the motion for a new trial. Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans, 306 Ga. 847, 834 S.E.2d 77 (2019).
To require second reversal, error in amount of verdict must appear clearly and without doubt. Jones v. Spindel, 128 Ga. App. 88, 196 S.E.2d 22 (1973), overruled on other grounds, Monumental Properties of Ga., Inc. v. Frontier Disposal, Inc., 159 Ga. App. 35, 282 S.E.2d 660 (1981).
When there has been a second trial of the issue upon substantially the same evidence, with a very similar result, the appeals court should be even less inclined to set aside the verdict on the ground that the verdict is excessive. Jones v. Spindel, 128 Ga. App. 88, 196 S.E.2d 22 (1973), overruled on other grounds, Monumental Properties of Ga., Inc. v. Frontier Disposal, Inc., 159 Ga. App. 35, 282 S.E.2d 660 (1981).
Verdict will not be disturbed by appellate court merely because it is large one. Langran v. Hodges, 60 Ga. App. 567, 4 S.E.2d 489 (1939).
When although the amount of the verdict awarded might be said to be generous, there was nothing in the record to suggest that the jury was actuated by undue or improper motives or influences, under the law and the facts as to the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, the Court of Appeals was without authority to interfere, as to the amount awarded, with the jury's finding and the approval of the trial judge. Langran v. Hodges, 60 Ga. App. 567, 4 S.E.2d 489 (1939).
While a jury's verdict as to damages may be larger than some of the individual members of the court would have found had the members been on the jury trying the case, the court cannot set the verdict aside for that reason. Western & Atl. R.R. v. Burnett, 79 Ga. App. 530, 54 S.E.2d 357 (1949).
Mere skimpiness in award of damages unattended by facts realistically demanding higher figure will not cause reversal. Brooks v. Williams, 127 Ga. App. 311, 193 S.E.2d 231 (1972).
Mere fact that evidence would authorize larger verdict is insufficient to authorize reversal of the judgment of the jury based thereon. Curl v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 243 Ga. 842, 257 S.E.2d 264 (1979).
Appellate courts are not free to reweigh evidence and set aside jury verdict merely because jury could have drawn different inference or conclusion or because the appellate judges feel that their judgments are more reasonable. Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Wells, 78 Ga. App. 859, 52 S.E.2d 496 (1949).Verdict not set aside if no prejudice shown unless flagrantly exorbitant.
- Before the verdict will be set aside because it is excessive, when there is no direct proof of prejudice or bias, the amount thereof, when considered in connection with all the facts, must shock the moral sense, appear "exorbitant," "flagrantly outrageous," and "extravagant." St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Dillingham, 112 Ga. App. 422, 145 S.E.2d 624 (1965); Redwing Carriers, Inc. v. Knight, 243 Ga. App. 668, 239 S.E.2d 686 (1977), overruled on other grounds, Roebuck v. State, 277 Ga. 200, 586 S.E.2d 651 (2003); Central of Ga. R.R. v. Nash, 150 Ga. App. 68, 256 S.E.2d 619 (1979); Suber v. Fountain, 151 Ga. App. 283, 259 S.E.2d 685 (1979); Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Towns, 156 Ga. App. 24, 274 S.E.2d 74 (1980).Objections to form of verdict did not preclude new trial.
- Rule requiring objections to the form of a verdict did not preclude a new trial to a father in a medical malpractice action for the wrongful death of a child on general grounds. Roberts v. Aderhold, 273 Ga. App. 642, 615 S.E.2d 761 (2005).
Approval of verdict by trial judge is given great weight by appellate court in passing upon the excessiveness of a verdict. Langran v. Hodges, 60 Ga. App. 567, 4 S.E.2d 489 (1939).
Cases of personal injuries and the like are interfered with by the Court of Appeals only when the verdicts are exorbitant or very inadequate. Langran v. Hodges, 60 Ga. App. 567, 4 S.E.2d 489 (1939).
When the trial judge refuses to order a new trial on the grounds of inadequate damages, if the trial court can conscientiously acquiesce in the verdict, though it may not exactly accord with the judge's best judgment or though some other finding might seem somewhat more satisfactory to the judge's mind, and if the judge's sense of justice is reasonably satisfied, the judge should, in the absence of some material error of law affecting the trial, approve it, and an appellate court will uphold the judge in so doing, and will not say that the judge abused the judge's discretion. Brown v. Service Coach Lines, 71 Ga. App. 437, 31 S.E.2d 236 (1944).
The court should not interfere unless the damages, when considered in connection with all the facts and circumstances, shock the moral sense, that is, appear exorbitant, flagrantly outrageous and extravagant. Jim Walter Corp. v. Ward, 150 Ga. App. 484, 258 S.E.2d 159 (1979).
If the award is not so flagrant as to "shock the conscience," it will not be disturbed on appeal. Stover v. Atchley, 189 Ga. App. 56, 374 S.E.2d 775 (1988), cert. denied, 189 Ga. App. 913, 374 S.E.2d 775 (1989).
Applicability to Specific Cases
Damages for physical injuries not excessive or inadequate.
- In suit by husband to recover for the death of his wife, since there was no evidence other than the size of the verdict from which it could be inferred that the verdict as rendered for $35,000.00 was the result of gross mistake or undue prejudice or bias on the part of the jury, the appellate court could not conclude, as a matter of law, that the verdict rendered for the plaintiff was the result of gross mistake, undue bias and prejudice on the part of the jury. Blue's Truck Line v. Harwell, 59 Ga. App. 305, 200 S.E. 500 (1938).
When the verdict was based not alone on permanency of injury and time extent of disability, but also on pain and suffering from the injuries proved, and the measure of damages being the enlightened consciences of fair and impartial jurors, it could not be said, in the absence of bias on the part of the jury, that the verdict was excessive. Chitwood v. Stoner, 60 Ga. App. 599, 4 S.E.2d 605 (1939).
In the absence of plain proof that the verdict of the jury awarding the plaintiff $25.00 for injuries sustained in swallowing particles of glass as a result of drinking a soft drink was the result of prejudice or bias, the court of appeals would not interfere. Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Childers, 63 Ga. App. 665, 11 S.E.2d 831 (1940).
After the plaintiff testified that the disfigurement of the plaintiff's face affected the plaintiff's capacity to obtain employment besides causing the plaintiff unending mortification as to the plaintiff's appearance, and there was further testimony as to the fracture of the left clavicle, which had to some extent diminished the plaintiff's capacity to work and might have a permanent result with regard to the free use of the arm, and the plaintiff endured much pain and suffering, both physical and mental, as the result of the plaintiff's injuries, it could not be held that the verdict was excessive, or was so excessive as to manifest bias and prejudice. Black & White Cab Co. v. Clark, 67 Ga. App. 170, 19 S.E.2d 570 (1942).
Recovery of $7,500.00 in damages when the plaintiff's head was severely injured, two ribs were broken, the plaintiff's left arm was broken, the plaintiff's right leg was injured, and the plaintiff was confined to the hospital and the plaintiff's bed for some two months, was not so excessive as to justify inference of gross mistake or undue bias. Callaway v. Fischer, 69 Ga. App. 251, 25 S.E.2d 131 (1943).
A verdict found by the jury, although it was in the exact sum claimed as special damages, could have included in the minds of the jury some amount for pain and suffering or general damages, and the court cannot say as a matter of law that the verdict was inadequate or so small as to justify an inference of gross mistake or undue bias. Pierson v. M. & M. Bus Co., 74 Ga. App. 537, 40 S.E.2d 561 (1946).
In the absence of any showing of actual bias or mistake, the Court of Appeals cannot say that the verdict for $17,000.00 returned by the jury and approved by the trial judge, is so excessive as a matter of law as to justify the inference of gross mistake or undue bias, notwithstanding the fact that the plaintiff's decedent lived only four days (but in great pain) following the accident. Hill v. Rosser, 102 Ga. App. 776, 117 S.E.2d 889 (1960).
When the evidence most favorable to the plaintiff shows painful and permanent injuries with loss of physical function, it cannot be said that the verdict is excessive as a matter of law. Central of Ga. R.R. v. Nash, 150 Ga. App. 68, 256 S.E.2d 619, cert. dismissed, 244 Ga. 495, 260 S.E.2d 909 (1979).
Given that the sole measure of damages for pain and suffering is the enlightened conscience of fair and impartial jurors, an award of $135,000 over proven medical expenses of $20,000 for a plaintiff in a truck accident case, whose injuries required plastic and arthoscopic surgery which left significant scars and whose physical activities were limited, was not excessive. J.B. Hunt Transp., Inc. v. Brown, 236 Ga. App. 634, 512 S.E.2d 34 (1999), recons. denied, overruled on other grounds by Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans, 306 Ga. 847, 834 S.E.2d 77 (2019).
Appellate court declined to set aside the amount of the verdict for pain and suffering and wrongful death when a juvenile in a child care institution was accidentally electrocuted because $1,000,000 for pain and suffering and $2,000,000 for wrongful death were not excessive as a matter of law. Ga. Dep't of Human Res. v. Johnson, 264 Ga. App. 730, 592 S.E.2d 124 (2003).
Jury award of $1,250,000 in favor of the plaintiff injured in a traffic accident case was not excessive; the injured person suffered, inter alia, hip fracture, six months of immobility, blood clots, pulmonary embolus, and permanent injuries from the accident, and the need for future surgery was shown. AT Sys. Southeast, Inc. v. Carnes, 272 Ga. App. 671, 613 S.E.2d 150 (2005).
Trial court properly denied a mother's motion for a new trial after a verdict in favor of the parents in a medical malpractice action for the wrongful death of a child as the jury was authorized to find that even though a doctor was negligent, the mother's contributory negligence was equal to or greater than that of the doctor and thus defeated the right of recovery; the parents claimed that the child was stillborn due to the mother's gestational diabetes and the doctor claimed that the mother was negligent in failing to advise the doctor of a family history of diabetes and in failing to follow medical instructions. Roberts v. Aderhold, 273 Ga. App. 642, 615 S.E.2d 761 (2005).
In the car accident case, the appellate court refused to interfere, under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(a), with the jury's $7,000,000 verdict in favor of the injured party as it did not shock the conscience; the injured party, who suffered life-threatening injuries and spent months recovering, could not return to work and suffered constant pain. Arnsdorff v. Fortner, 276 Ga. App. 1, 622 S.E.2d 395 (2005).
Because a negligent motorist admitted that the motorist caused a collision and the only issue tried before a jury was whether the collision was the proximate cause of the injured driver's damages, the entry of a verdict for the defense was not a manifest injustice, gross mistake, or bias that required that a new trial be had pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(a), as there was evidence that the injured driver had suffered other incidents that caused the driver similar back pain, as well as another prior collision, and that the driver had undergone chiropractic treatments for years; the lack of damages awarded was not so inadequate as to require that the appellate court overturn the trial court's judgment. Lindsey v. Turner, 279 Ga. App. 595, 631 S.E.2d 789 (2006).
Damages award was not excessive under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12. The injured party proffered evidence that medical bills were over $600,000, that the party would require more surgery, and that the party would need to replace parts of a prosthetic leg, at a cost of $30,000, about every three years; the party also showed that the party was no longer able to enjoy many physical activities in which the party had previously engaged and that the prosthesis became painful to wear by the end of each day. Hart v. Shergold, 295 Ga. App. 94, 670 S.E.2d 895 (2008), cert. denied, No. S09C0582, 2009 Ga. LEXIS 230 (Ga. 2009).Parent suing for wrongful death of child.
- Trial court properly ordered a new trial limited to the issue of the father's damages in a medical malpractice action for the wrongful death of a child because the jury verdict "in favor of the plaintiffs," necessarily reflected either a jury finding that the mother's contributory negligence barred a recovery by the father, which was contrary to the law, or that the father was not injured by the child's death, which was contrary to the evidence. Roberts v. Aderhold, 273 Ga. App. 642, 615 S.E.2d 761 (2005).
Award of $1.00 for permanent injury to leg gives rise to inference of gross mistake or bias. Cothern v. Haygood, 147 Ga. App. 200, 248 S.E.2d 231 (1978).Award of $10,000 to apartment tenant for rat-bite injury not excessive.
- See Valdosta Hous. Auth. v. Finnessee, 160 Ga. App. 552, 287 S.E.2d 569 (1981).Verdict of $275,000 for negligent poisoning of dairy herd not excessive.
- See Moultrie Farm Center, Inc. v. Sparkman, 171 Ga. App. 736, 320 S.E.2d 863 (1984).
Verdict of $10,000 awarded to widow in wrongful death action based on death of her husband was not so grossly inadequate as to justify the inference of gross mistake or undue bias since the evidence authorized a charge on comparative negligence because of the decedent's excessive speed in traveling on the decedent's motorcycle. Kirkland v. Williams, 172 Ga. App. 595, 323 S.E.2d 891 (1984) (decided prior to 1987 amendment).When only $10,000 awarded in wrongful death action, new trial not error.
- When, in a wrongful death action, the defendant was given full and fair opportunity in the first trial to place before the jury issues concerning comparative negligence, which may or may not have affected the jury's award of only $10,000 damages, the trial court's grant of a new trial only on damages was not error. Williams v. Worsley, 235 Ga. App. 806, 510 S.E.2d 46 (1998), recons. denied; overruled on other grounds by Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans, 306 Ga. 847, 834 S.E.2d 77 (2019).Medical malpractice.
- When a jury in a medical malpractice case awarded the parents of a deceased infant damages for the infant's pain and suffering and the medical expenses for the infant's hospital care, but awarded nothing on the parents' wrongful death claim, it was error to grant additur under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(b). Additur in such a case might be a substitution of the trial court's finding for the jury's finding. Columbus Reg'l Healthcare Sys. v. Henderson, 282 Ga. 598, 652 S.E.2d 522 (2007).
In a medical malpractice suit, the trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by denying the defendants' motion for a new trial or for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict because there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to prove negligent supervision, particularly the defendants collectively stipulating that the defendants' negligence and breaches in the standard of care in injecting the patient's knee directly and proximately caused the knee infection. Ga. Clinic, P.C. v. Stout, 323 Ga. App. 487, 747 S.E.2d 83 (2013).
Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by denying the plaintiffs' challenge to the adequacy of the damages award because the plaintiffs, a patient and the patient's spouse, did not point to any errors of material fact made by the trial court and the court could not say that the jury verdict was so inadequate as to be irrational and thus the apparent result of jury bias, prejudice, or corruption, even though the court awarded the patient zero damages for future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. Evans v. Rockdale Hosp., LLC, 355 Ga. App. 33, 841 S.E.2d 449 (2020).Award of zero damages in products liability case.
- In a products liability action initiated by the plaintiff after the plaintiff's newly developed, ready-to-drink tea product line spoiled on the grocery shelves, the evidence supported a finding that the plaintiff's own negligence was greater than or equal to that of the defendant, and an award of zero damages was not so inadequate as to be inconsistent with the preponderance of the evidence. Shasta Bevs., Inc. v. Tetley USA, Inc., 248 Ga. App. 381, 546 S.E.2d 800 (2001), overruled on other grounds by Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans, 306 Ga. 847, 834 S.E.2d 77 (2019).Reduction of award by 90 percent.
- The trial court did not manifestly abuse the court's discretion in denying a new trial on the ground that the verdict was excessive since the court exercised its authority under subsection (b) of O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12 and reduced the damages to only ten percent of those awarded by the jury, which constituted a conditional grant of the defendants' motion. Porter v. Tissenbaum, 247 Ga. App. 816, 545 S.E.2d 372 (2001).
Verdict of over $1,000,000 for physical injuries received by the plaintiff in an automobile accident was not excessive. Smith v. Crump, 223 Ga. App. 52, 476 S.E.2d 817 (1996).Compensatory damages of $750,000 not excessive.
- After a truck driver punched the plaintiff in the face during a road rage incident, an award of $750,000 in compensatory damages against the driver's employer was not so excessive as to entitle the employer to a new trial, as the employer, by defaulting, admitted the complaint's allegations that: (1) the employer knew the driver was incompetent to drive; (2) the employer acted recklessly in allowing the driver to drive; (2) the driver was acting within the scope of employment when the driver assaulted the plaintiff; and (4) the plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress due to the attack. Aldworth Co. v. England, 276 Ga. App. 31, 622 S.E.2d 367 (2005), aff'd in part and rev'd in part, 281 Ga. 197, 637 S.E.2d 198, 2006 Ga. LEXIS 883 (2006).Punitive damages of $1 million not excessive.
- After a truck driver punched the plaintiff in the face during a road rage incident and the employer, by defaulting, admitted acting recklessly in allowing the driver to drive, a punitive damages award of $1 million, or 1.3 times compensatory damages, was not so excessive as to deny the employer due process; therefore, the employer was not entitled to a new trial. Aldworth Co. v. England, 276 Ga. App. 31, 622 S.E.2d 367 (2005), aff'd in part and rev'd in part, 281 Ga. 197, 637 S.E.2d 198, 2006 Ga. LEXIS 883 (2006).Punitive damage in trust action.
- In a breach of trust action, the trial court erred in denying the defendant brothers' motion to reduce damages with respect to the punitive damage award because the jury specifically found that the brothers did not act with the specific intent to cause harm to the sister; the judgment could be affirmed only on the condition that the sister agreed to strike therefrom the award of punitive damages in excess of $250,000. Sims v. Heath, 258 Ga. App. 681, 577 S.E.2d 789 (2002), overruled on other grounds by Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans, 306 Ga. 847, 834 S.E.2d 77 (2019)(Unpublished).Awarding same general damages to victims injured in varying degrees.
- Awarding same general damages to car crash passenger who sustained severe injuries as awarded to less seriously injured passenger does not alone warrant a new trial. Cullen v. Timm, 184 Ga. App. 80, 360 S.E.2d 745 (1987).Jury confusion mandates new trial.
- When injured guest passengers were not negligent and incurred special damages, a verdict in their favor but awarding zero damages was strongly against the weight of the evidence and, when considered along with the real probability that the jury was confused over issues related to other claims by other parties tried in the same case, a new trial was mandated. Moore v. TCI Cablevision of Ga., Inc., 235 Ga. App. 796, 510 S.E.2d 96 (1998).Verdict reflected gross mistake by jury.
- Trial court erred in denying a college's motion for a new trial because, after a student's expert testified that if the student returned to school after trial, the lost income, additional tuition, and attorney fees would be $103,377; the jury's verdict of $698,500 so greatly exceeded the student's possible damages that it could only reflect a gross mistake by the jury. Morehouse College, Inc. v. McGaha, 277 Ga. App. 529, 627 S.E.2d 39 (2005).Increase in damage award in contracting claim.
- Trial court did not err by refusing to enter a judgment molding with a jury's verdict to correct an alleged illegality and inconsistency in the damages award because under O.C.G.A. § 9-12-7, the trial court had no authority to mold the verdict since an increase in damages was a matter of substance, not mere form; a plumbing contractor was not without a potential remedy if the contractor believed that the jury's verdict was incorrect because after the return of the verdict but before the dispersal of the jury, the plumbing contractor could have argued that the jury's damage award was illegal and internally inconsistent and could have requested the trial court to give additional instructions and permit the jury to consider the matter again, and alternatively, after the jury was dispersed, the plumbing contractor could have asked for a new trial on the issue of damages or to conditionally grant a new trial under the court's power of additur under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12. Gill Plumbing Co. v. Jimenez, 310 Ga. App. 863, 714 S.E.2d 342 (2011), cert. denied, No. S11C1826, 2011 Ga. LEXIS 966 (Ga. 2011).Award excessive.
- Trial court erred when the court denied a bank's motion for a new trial in a fraud case because the amount of damages awarded was excessive in that the evidence adduced at trial did not authorize the jury's award of $100,000 against the bank because the suing construction company alleged and proved only economic harm in an amount substantially less than that award, namely $9,400 via a materialman's lien, and renovation expenses in the amount of $23,000. Further, the jury's award of an additional $55,000 against the bank as punitive damages was erroneous since there was no charge on punitive damages, let alone proper guidance on the clear and convincing evidence required; the verdict form did not pose the question of punitive damages except by quotation of O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(f), which required the jury to find specific intent to cause harm before the jury could award punitive damages in excess of $250,000; and the proceedings were not properly bifurcated. First Southern Bank v. C & F Servs., 290 Ga. App. 304, 659 S.E.2d 707 (2008).Applicability to FELA cases.
- Because questions as to the proper measure of damages in Federal Employer's Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. § 51 et seq., cases are governed by general principles of law established by the federal courts, the revision of O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12 in 1987 did not modify the principles applicable to FELA cases. Central of Ga. R.R. v. Carter, 212 Ga. App. 528, 442 S.E.2d 269 (1994).Fraud claims.
- In a breach of contract and fraud action, the appellate court refused to disturb the jury's verdict awarding the lessor general damages because such damages were available on a fraud claim and there simply was no basis to overturn the verdict. Goody Prods. v. Dev. Auth. of Manchester, 320 Ga. App. 530, 740 S.E.2d 261 (2013).Award to co-incorporator upheld.
- Damages' award to the damaged co-incorporator was upheld as the jury could have reasonably concluded that had the corporation pursued a development of certain advertising signs, then the co-incorporator would have been entitled to have that profit. Multimedia Techs., Inc. v. Wilding, 262 Ga. App. 576, 586 S.E.2d 74 (2003).Award of $22,000 in trespass case not excessive.
- In a trespass counterclaim, a jury's award of $22,000 properly withstood motions for relief from the judgment because there was evidence to support the verdict and even if the award, which had not been specifically enumerated as general or nominal damages, was awarded as nominal damages, such damages could vary widely in Georgia and were not subject to being set aside based solely on the amount. Wright v. Wilcox, 262 Ga. App. 659, 586 S.E.2d 364 (2003).Award of $60,000 not inadequate.
- Jury award of approximately $60,000 in a slip and fall case, which was only approximately $7,000 more than the injured person's medical bills, was not so inadequate as to have warranted a new trial since there was evidence of comparative negligence, including evidence that the injured person's diabetic condition, combined with the injured person's failure to eat, made the injured person dizzy, weak, and faint while at the restaurant, and evidence that the injured person was in a hurry, that the injured person's shoes did not give sufficient traction, that the injured person had just entered the same door that the injured person later exited, and that the injured person noticed the walkway was wet upon entering the restaurant; a jury was also allowed to reduce a verdict if the damages resulted from a preexisting condition, and there was evidence of the injured person's preexisting injuries, including evidence that the injured person had experienced pain and difficulties in the injured person's hips, elbows, joints, and legs, had anxiety problems and depression, and had suffered from arthritis. Anderson v. L & R Smith, Inc., 265 Ga. App. 469, 594 S.E.2d 688 (2004).Award of $100,000 for slander per se not excessive.
- Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12, a trial court set aside as excessive a jury's award to a musician of $100,000 in general damages for slander per se committed by a radio personality. This was error since the evidence showed the radio broadcast falsely accusing the musician of murder damaged the musician's reputation and career, which was based on the musician's reputation as a positive role model for fathers. Riddle v. Golden Isles Broad., LLC, 292 Ga. App. 888, 666 S.E.2d 75 (2008), overruled on other grounds by Rockdale Hospital, LLC v. Evans, 306 Ga. 847, 834 S.E.2d 77 (2019).Damages for breach of fiduciary duty.
- General partner of a limited partnership that owned a shopping center, the partnership's president, and the shopping center managers' claim that the limited partners failed to support the damages awarded by a jury for breach of fiduciary duty in a derivative action was rejected as the claim was not raised below, the parties introduced expert testimony based upon an individual cash flow analysis that employed almost the same documentation, and the damages awarded by the jury for breach of fiduciary duty could be based on a cash flow analysis. T. C. Prop. Mgmt., Inc. v. Tsai, 267 Ga. App. 740, 600 S.E.2d 770 (2004).
It was not an abuse of discretion to deny a new trial motion brought by a trustee who was found to have breached the trustee's fiduciary duty to trust beneficiaries by making distributions to a co-trustee under a trust's encroachment provision, because the trustee breached the trustee's duty to protect the trust corpus as (1) the trustee inconsistently required the co-trustee to provide supporting evidence for corpus distributions and let the co-trustee exceed an allotted budget, and (2) the beneficiaries were damaged by the resulting reduction in trust corpus. Reliance Trust Co. v. Candler, 315 Ga. App. 495, 726 S.E.2d 636 (2012).Damages awarded on one claim but not on another.
- A jury's finding that damages should be awarded on one claim but not on another claim may be an inconsistent or contradictory verdict for which a trial court may use its traditional powers to grant a motion for new trial on liability and damages, but the verdict is not one reflecting "inadequate" damages for which the trial court may use its power to add to the verdict under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(b). Columbus Reg'l Healthcare Sys. v. Henderson, 282 Ga. 598, 652 S.E.2d 522 (2007).Award not excessive in condemnation case.
- Although the condemnee contended that the court erred in failing to apply O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12, § 51-12-12(b) provided that if the jury's award of damages was clearly so inadequate or so excessive as to any party as to be inconsistent with the preponderance of the evidence, the trial court may order a new trial as to damages only. But in the instant case, the jury's award was well within the range of the undisputed and competent evidence before the jury; that claim of error was therefore without merit. RNW Family P'ship, Ltd. v. DOT, 307 Ga. App. 108, 704 S.E.2d 211 (2010).Damage award upheld.
- A damages award was upheld on appeal from a breach of contract action, despite the suing party's claim that the amount was inadequate, because the record showed that the jury was charged, without objection, as to both an issue of damages and on causation, including mitigation, and awarded only those damages it determined flowed directly from the breach. Gold Kist, Inc. v. Base Mfg., 289 Ga. App. 690, 658 S.E.2d 228 (2008).
In a truck driver's suit against a mechanic to recover for faulty repairs, the evidence presented at trial authorized the jury's verdict awarding $200,000 in damages; therefore, the trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in denying the defendant's motion for new trial or for a remittitur under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-12(a). Because the plaintiff was unable to drive the plaintiff's own truck, the plaintiff spent thirty-two months unemployed, and an account summary provided by the employer was sufficient evidence from which the jury could determine lost wages. Smith v. Reddick, 319 Ga. App. 269, 735 S.E.2d 15 (2012).
Ample evidence in the record established that the plaintiff suffered severe pain for at least two years after the fall, still experienced pain, and will likely experience some pain after a third knee surgery and the defendant pointed to no evidence let alone compelling evidence that the verdict was so excessive as to shock the conscience and require reversal. Vineyard Indus. v. Bailey, 343 Ga. App. 517, 806 S.E.2d 898 (2017), cert. denied, No. S18C0480, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 314 (Ga. 2018).
Am. Jur. 2d.
- 22 Am. Jur. 2d, Damages, §§ 5, 802, 827 et seq.C.J.S.
- 25A C.J.S., Damages, § 457 et seq.ALR.
- Excessiveness of verdict in action by person injured for injuries not resulting in death, 46 A.L.R. 1230; 102 A.L.R. 1125; 16 A.L.R.2d 3.
Power of court to reduce or increase verdict without giving party affected the option to submit to a new trial, 53 A.L.R. 779; 95 A.L.R. 1163.
Constitutionality, construction, and application of statute relating to excessiveness or inadequacy of damages as ground of reversal or new trial, 88 A.L.R. 943.
Right of jury to allow substantial damages in action for death of minor child not gainfully employed, 149 A.L.R. 234.
Duty to instruct, and effect of failure to instruct, jury as to reduction to present worth of damages for future loss on account of death or personal injuries, 154 A.L.R. 796.
Excessiveness of damages in action by person injured for personal injuries not resulting in death (for years 1941 to 1950), 16 A.L.R.2d 3.
Validity of verdict awarding plaintiff in personal injury action amount of medical expenses but failing to award damages for pain and suffering, 20 A.L.R.2d 276.
Propriety of limiting to issue of damages alone new trial granted on ground of inadequacy of damages awarded, 29 A.L.R.2d 1199.
Excessiveness or inadequacy of damages for false imprisonment or arrest, 35 A.L.R.2d 273.
Excessiveness or inadequacy of damages for malicious prosecution, 35 A.L.R.2d 308.
Verdict for money judgment which finds for party for ambiguous or no amount, 49 A.L.R.2d 1328.
Court's power to increase amount of verdict or judgment over either party's refusal or failure to consent to addition, 56 A.L.R.2d 213.
Verdict in excess of amount demanded as requiring new trial notwithstanding voluntary remittitur, 65 A.L.R.2d 1331.
Quotient verdicts, 8 A.L.R.3d 335.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded to injured person for injuries to arms, legs, feet, and hands, 11 A.L.R.3d 9, 13 A.L.R.4th 212, 12 A.L.R.4th 96.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded to injured person for injuries to head or neck, 11 A.L.R.3d 370, 14 A.L.R.4th 328, 15 A.L.R.4th 294, 16 A.L.R.4th 1127; 14 A.L.R.4th 328; 15 A.L.R.4th 294; 16 A.L.R.4th 1127.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded to injured person for injuries to organic systems and processes of body, 12 A.L.R.3d 475, 14 A.L.R.4th 539, 15 A.L.R.4th 519, 16 A.L.R.4th 1127.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded to injured person for injuries to trunk or torso, 12 A.L.R.3d 2117.
Party's acceptance of remittitur in lower court as affecting his right to complain in appellate court as to amount of damages for personal injury, 16 A.L.R.3d 1327.
Excessiveness and adequacy of damages for personal injuries resulting in death of minor, 49 A.L.R.3d 934.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for personal injuries resulting in death of retired persons, 52 A.L.R.3d 1289.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to arms and hands, 12 A.L.R.4th 96.
Excessiveness or inadequacy of punitive damages awarded in personal injury or death cases, 35 A.L.R.4th 441.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for personal injuries resulting in death of homemaker, 47 A.L.R.4th 100.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for personal injuries resulting in death of persons engaged in trades and manual occupations, 47 A.L.R.4th 134.
Excessiveness or inadequacy of compensatory damages for false imprisonment or arrest, 48 A.L.R.4th 165.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for personal injuries resulting in death of retired persons, 48 A.L.R.4th 229.
Excessiveness and adequacy of damages for personal injuries resulting in death of minor, 49 A.L.R.4th 1076.
Excessiveness or inadequacy of compensatory damages for malicious prosecution, 50 A.L.R.4th 843.
Validity of verdict awarding medical expenses to personal injury plaintiff, but failing to award damages for pain and suffering, 55 A.L.R.4th 186.
Propriety of limiting to issue of damages alone new trial granted on ground of inadequacy of damages - modern cases, 5 A.L.R.5th 875.
Excessiveness or inadequacy of punitive damages awarded in personal injury or death cases, 12 A.L.R.5th 195.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to head or brain, 50 A.L.R.5th 1.
Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to nerves or nervous system. 51 A.L.R.5th 467.