Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Remittur allows the trial court to reduce a jury verdict in certain circumstances.  Much like addittur, it is a pretty hard road.  Here is the quick rundown of the law from an appeal standpoint. 
Pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-1-55 (Rev.2002), a trial court has the authority to order a remittitur if it finds “that the damages are excessive for the reason that the jury or trier of the facts was influenced by bias, prejudice, or passion, or that the damages awarded were contrary to the overwhelming weight of credible evidence.”  “Such matters are reviewed on appeal for abuse of discretion.”  Cade v. Walker, 771 So.2d 403, 407(¶ 11) (Miss.Ct.App.2000). Whether a jury award is excessive is determined on a case-by-case basis, and the appellate court will not disturb a jury award unless the amount, in comparison to the actual damages, “shocks the conscience” of the court.   Entergy Miss., Inc. v. Bolden, 854 So.2d 1051, 1058(¶ 20) (Miss.2003).   In other words, the question is whether the verdict is “so excessive or inadequate as to indicate bias, passion and prejudice on the part of the jury, or [did] the jury fail[ ] to respond to reason.”  Walker v. Gann, 955 So.2d 920, 931(¶ 38) Miss.Ct.App.2007) (citation omitted).  “Due to the uncertainty of the monetary value placed on pain and suffering and future damages, [this Court] ha[s] affirmed damages up to fifty-one times the actual damages shown.”  Kroger Co., 809 So.2d at 684(¶ 11) (citations omitted).   Although we recognize that “the sky is not the limit with regard to jury verdicts,” we afford a jury “broad leeway” when it comes to an award of damages.  Cade, 771 So.2d at 410(¶ 20).
So as it is pretty hard to get a trial judge to raise a verdict, it is equally hard to get them to lower a verdict. 

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