Monday, June 14, 2010

Court reviews the sufficiency of the evidence in a case involving a hunting accident

BOBBY GERALD RILEY, and Wife, TANYA RILEY, Individually and as next of kin for HUNTER RILEY v. JAMES ORR (Tenn. Ct. App. June 14, 2010)

This is an appeal of a jury verdict. The plaintiff was hunting with his son. The defendant was also hunting in the general area, and accidentally shot the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant for negligence, and included a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress on behalf of his son. The parties stipulated as to the defendant's liability, and a jury trial was held on the issue of damages.

The jury instructions included instructions on the plaintiff father's mental pain and suffering and the son's emotional injury, but did not separately address the plaintiff father's emotional injury. After deliberating, the jury returned a verdict awarding damages to the plaintiff father as well as an award for the son's emotional injury. The trial court denied the defendant's motion for a new trial and approved the verdict. The defendant now appeals.

On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the verdict on several elements of damages, and argues that the inconsistency in the jury instructions on emotional injury necessitates a new trial. We affirm in part, vacate in part, suggest remittitur as to the awards for future medical expenses and for emotional injury, and remand for further proceedings.

Opinion may be found at:

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