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Florida Fourth DCA rules that trial court's additur was improper where jury award of damages was not unreasonably inadequate

On October 3, 2018, in Pogue v. Garib, No. 4D17-2638, the Florida Fourth DCA reversed a trial court’s additur order in a motor vehicle negligence case. At trial, the jury returned a verdict finding that the plaintiff had a permanent injury but awarding her only a quarter of her requested medical damages and nothing for pain and suffering. The judge then instructed the jury that since they had determined that the plaintiff was permanently injured, they were required under Florida law to award “some damages” for the plaintiff’s non-economic damages. The jury resumed deliberations and returned a revised verdict of $500 each for past and future pain and suffering. Upon a motion by the plaintiff, the Judge entered an additur order for an additional $20,000. In reversing the additur order, the Florida Fourth DCA cited its previous decision in Garrett v. Miami Transfer Co., 964 So. 2d 286, 291 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017), for the proposition that awards of zero damages for future noneconomic damages are unreasonable only when undisputed evidence of permanent injury and a need for treatment in the future exist. See also Allstate Ins. Co. v. Manasse, 707 So. 2d 1110, 1110 (Fla. 1998) (where a jury finds that a plaintiff has sustained a permanent injury and awards future medical expenses, but no future intangible damages, the verdict is not inadequate as a matter of law). The Fourth DCA concluded that since there was conflicting evidence at trial about permanency and the need for future treatment, the jury verdict could not be said to be unreasonable and an additur was improper.