FELA FORESEEABILITY, EXPERTS, DAMAGES, TAX CONSEQUENCES: CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC. V. MOODY (COA 7/13/2007)

CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC. V. MOODY
TORTS:  FELA (STATE LAW FOR PROCEDURE; FEDERAL SUBSTANTIVE LAW); MEETING BURDEN TO GO TO JURY; FORESEEABILITY STANDARD; EXPERTS AND DAUBERT
DAMAGES:   TAX CONSEQUENCES OF AWARD; PRESENT VALUE

2005-CA-001494
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING IN PART AND VACATING IN PART
PANEL:  THOMPSON, PRESIDING;  DIXON, HENRY CONCUR
COUNTY: JEFFERSON
DATE RENDERED: 7/13/2007
 

CA affirms in part and vacates in part the $2.74 million jury verdict in favor of plaintiff-appellee in this Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) toxic exposure case. The CA vacates only $200,000 speculatively awarded for future medicals in this thorough and succinctly-written opinion.

Plaintiff-appellee was exposed to solvents between 1978 and 1982 and suffered a permanent psychiatric neurological injury. A jury awarded him future medicals of $200,000; impairment of earning capacity $540,000; past pain & suffering $1 million and future pain & suffering $1 million. CSX appealled on issues of foreseeability; jury instructions; Daubert; causation; admission of evidence; and damage calculations.

CA held that ample evidence supported foreseeability under FELA and that the general negligence instruction given was not error. CA also found no error in admitting evidence of prior claims of solvent exposure by other employees as they occurred under "substantially similar" conditions. CA held, however, that plaintiff-appellee failed to present evidence upon which future medicals could be accurately calculated and that, therefore, the jury’s award was speculative and must be vacated. Future lost wages, however, were awarded within the jury’s ability to make its own determination. CA also held that the TC should have instructed the jury that lost wages are not taxable, but that, since the defendant failed to present evidence from which the jury could appropriately reduce the award, the failure was harmless error. Also, no error for failure to instruct jury to reduce the award to present value.

Digested by John E. Hamlet

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