When an additur changed a jury verdict from $300,000 to over $1.3 million, the Court of Appeals ruled that it destroyed the jury’s verdict.
In Walton v. Tullahoma HMA, LLC, No. M2017-01366-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 7, 2018), plaintiff brought a health care liability and wrongful death claim after her husband died while in defendant’s hospital being treated for kidney stones. According to plaintiff, her husband was put on a pain pump to self-administer morphine, and she was told to press the button while he slept, which she did. The husband coded the following morning, suffered brain damage, and was eventually taken off life support.
Plaintiff filed this HCLA/ wrongful death suit, seeking medical expenses, the pecuniary value of husband’s life, and damages for a loss of consortium claim. Defendant hospital answered and asserted that plaintiff was comparatively at fault for administering the pain medication to her husband. After a trial, a jury found defendant 51% at fault and plaintiff 49% at fault, and determined that the total damages were $300,000, which included “$300,000 for loss of earning capacity and $0 for loss of consortium.”