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Banks v. Sunrise Hospital

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Banks (plaintiff) sued Sunrise Hospital (defendant) alleging damages stemming from loss of enjoyment of life.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Under tort law, a plaintiff may recover damages for loss of enjoyment of life.

    Facts.

    The plaintiff went into the hospital run by the defendant in order to have Rotator Cuff surgery. While he was in surgery he had a heart attack, which caused to remain in a vegetative state. Plaintiff sued the defendant through a guardian, arguing negligence on the part of the hospital. An economic expert testified that the victim’s loss of enjoyment of life could be valued at around $2.5 million. The jury awarded the plaintiff $5 million in damages stemming from pain and suffering along with lose of enjoyment of life, without explanation as to what money was for pain and suffering and what was for loss of enjoyment of life. The defendant argued the court erred in allowing the expert to testify.

    Issue.

    Whether under tort law, a plaintiff may recover damages for loss of enjoyment of life.

    Held.

    Yes. Under tort law, a plaintiff may recover damages for loss of enjoyment of life.

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    Damages a plaintiff may recover for a tort are not limited to pain and suffering, loss of wages, and medical expenses but may also include loss of enjoyment of life damages. The trial court did not err in allowing the expert to monetize loss of enjoyment of life damages. The expert helped the jury decide what to award the plaintiff for these damages and the jury was free to reject his opinion. However, the trial court did err when it allowed these loss of enjoyment damages along with pain and suffering damages because the loss of enjoyment damages are a part of pain and suffering damages.


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