SW Legal studies in Business

Hedonic Damages Do Not Duplicate Damages for Pain and Suffering
Description Appeals court ordered a new trial in a negligence case in which the jury improperly apportioned all fault to the owner of a vehicle and none to the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident, but held that the jury could award hedonic damages for the loss of enjoyment of life to a person injured in the accident. Such damages are distinct from damages for pain and suffering.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence; Liability; Proximate Cause; Damages; Hedonic Damages
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Lichman, who was intoxicated while driving, struck and killed Zeller, who was driving a motorcycle, and injured Ogden, who was sitting behind Zeller on the motorcycle. Ogden and Zeller's heirs sued Lichman's employer, J.M.Steel, for negligent entrustment of a company vehicle to Lichman to drive at all times despite his poor driving record, including a DUI conviction. The jury found Steel 100% at fault, Lichman 0% at fault, and granted Ogden $1.4 million in damages and Zeller's heirs $1.3 million in damages. Steel appealed.
Decision Judgment vacated; remanded for new trial. As a matter of law, the jury had to allocate some degree of fault to Lichman, whose negligence was the proximate cause of the accident. Further, the fact that Lichman was not driving in the scope of his employment must be taken into account. However, Steel's contention that the jury cannot award hedonic damages is incorrect. Hedonic damages are damages to plaintiff Ogden for the loss of enjoyment of life's activities. This form of damages is different from damages for pain and suffering and is not a duplication of such damages.
Citation Ogden v. J.M.Steel Erecting, Inc., 2001 WL 579805 (Ct. App., Ariz., 2001)

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