Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rear end collision plaintiff awarded zero, discretionary costs remanded for reconsideration

BERNARD HUGHES v. DEMAR HUDGINS (Tenn. Ct. App. August 17, 2009)

The plaintiff claimed that he suffered neck and back injuries after the automobile in which he was riding was rear-ended by the defendant's automobile. The defendant admitted breach of the standard of care, but the jury found that the plaintiff had suffered no damages as the result of the accident, and he was not awarded any recovery. The trial court awarded the defendant $645.95 in discretionary costs to cover the court reporter fees he incurred for depositions. The plaintiff argues on appeal that there was no material evidence to support the jury's verdict. For his part, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in declining to award him all of the discretionary costs he requested. We affirm the jury verdict, but we remand the issue of the award of discretionary costs.

The opinion may be found at:

CLEMENT concurring in part and dissenting in part:

"The basis for the trial court’s decision to award Mr. Hudgins some, but not all, of his discretionary costs is unclear from the record. Because of the discretion given to the trial court and its authority to apportion costs “as the equities demand,” we must remand this matter to the trial court for consideration of the award of discretionary costs." Id.

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