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Florida Fourth DCA reverses trial court’s additur of $225,000 to plaintiff’s recovery against premises liability defendant, finding that trial court abused discretion in disturbing jury verdict

On September 8, 2021, in Kocik v. Rodriguez, No. 4D19-3534, the Florida Fourth DCA reversed a trial court’s ruling in a personal injury premises liability case that had granted the prevailing plaintiff’s motion for additur to the damages awarded by the jury, awarding the plaintiff an additional $225,000 for future pain and suffering (the jury had awarded only $25,000 for both past and future pain and suffering). The trial court indicated in its order that the additional award was “grossly inadequate” compared to awards in similar broken femur cases. The Fourth DCA concluded that the trial court abused its discretion in granting the plaintiff’s additur motion, because the jury weighed conflicting evidence which could have borne a reasonable relation to the jury’s $25,000 combined past and future pain and suffering award, as the defendant had argued in closing. In support of this determination, the Fourth DCA noted that although the plaintiff indisputably experienced pain from the incident and surgery, he testified his pain had diminished over time, he had resumed construction work, and had resumed his fishing hobby. Further, his orthopedic surgeon testified the surgery was a success, he had not treated the plaintiff in years, and the only future treatment which the plaintiff might require was a minor procedure to remove the screws.