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Norfleet v. Lifeguard Transp. Serv., 934 So. 2d 846 (La. Ct. App. 2006)

Plaintiffs moved for JNOV after the jury failed to award wrongful death damages and allocated 70% of damages to the ambulance service that had previously been settled. The trial court modified the award by increasing medical expenses and funeral expenses to reflect the actual damages evidenced at trial. The trial court also awarded 40% of attorney’s fees and court costs. On appeal, the jury’s allocation of fault was not clearly erroneous so the trial court did not err in refusing to deny JNOV on that issue. Regarding the damages award in the survival action, “Mrs. Norfleet moaned, responded to pain by opening her eyes and moving, and had tears coming from her eyes. Thus, we do not find that the jury committed a manifest error, was clearly wrong or shocked the conscience by awarding $ 152,000 for two and a half months of pain.” After reviewing the evidence, the court reversed in part due to the jury’s failure to award wrongful death damages. “Therefore, we must make an initial wrongful death damage award. Applicable jurisprudence provides that the range in wrongful death awards to major children in a close family for the death of an elderly parent ranges from $12,500 to $ 150,000, depending upon the evidence in the record. [citing Louisiana cases]” Reviewing 8 factors regarding the extent of work performed by Plaintiff’s counsel, the award of attorney’s fees was deemed reasonable.

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