Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gustavsson v. Holder

Florida Court of Appeals, Fifth District

January 5, 2018

LARS PAUL GUSTAVSSON, Appellant,
v.
CAROL MARIE HOLDER AND SEAN LEONARD BECK, Appellees.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Volusia County, Sandra C. Upchurch, Judge.

          Nancye R. Jones and Mark A. Matovina, of Politis & Matovina, P.A., Port Orange, for Appellant.

          Elizabeth C. Wheeler, of Elizabeth C Wheeler, P.A., Orlando, for Appellees.

          EGAN, R., Associate Judge.

         Lars Paul Gustavsson appeals the denial of his motion for additur or new trial following judgment entered in his favor, as well as the denial of his subsequent motion for reconsideration. Gustavsson also argues the trial court abused its discretion by declining to grant a new trial on damages and liability based on a compromised verdict. We reverse on the issue of past non-economic damages only and affirm on the issue of future non- economic damages. We also affirm on the issue of liability based on a compromised verdict because Gustavsson did not preserve that issue for appeal.

         Gustavsson sued appellees Carol Marie Holder and Sean Leonard Beck after being struck and injured as a pedestrian by a vehicle owned by Holder and driven by Beck.[1] With respect to damages, the parties did not dispute that Gustavsson sustained a serious and permanent injury as a result of the accident. He sustained a displaced right femur fracture that required surgical repair with a titanium rod. He also suffered a facial laceration, which required plastic surgery that resulted in permanent facial scarring. Recovery from the leg injury did not go well. Over the three years following the accident, Gustavsson was diagnosed with three MRSA infections of the leg that required at least four additional surgical procedures, including irrigation and debridement of the infected tissue and removal of the titanium rod, which was believed to be the source of the infection. During this time, Gustavsson spent more than eighteen weeks in the hospital, and at trial, he claimed $507, 874.95 in past medical expenses.

         All of his treating physicians agreed that the subject motor vehicle accident was the cause of the infection and that the initial injury, as well as the subsequent infections, were very painful for Gustavsson. In addition, orthopedic surgeon Thomas Broderick, M.D., performed three compulsory medical examinations on behalf of Beck, culminating in a final written report in January 2015. According to Dr. Broderick, Gustavsson's right knee had stabilized by that time but had a permanent decrease in motion. The right thigh had suffered significant atrophy, and the knee examination was consistent with chronic inflammation. Dr. Broderick agreed that the leg injury would have been painful, opined that Gustavsson sustained a permanent injury, and assigned a 25% permanent impairment rating related to the accident.

         At the close of the evidence, the trial court directed a verdict for Gustavsson on the issue of permanency and submitted the case to the jury. The jury returned a verdict finding Beck 1% negligent and Gustavsson 99% negligent. The jury awarded Gustavsson $507, 667.95 for medical damages, nearly the exact total of the claimed past medical bills, but awarded no damages for pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish, inconvenience, aggravation of disease or physical defect, or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.

         In light of the directed verdict on permanency and the award of past medical damages, the parties agreed the jury verdict was inconsistent, and the court sent the jury back for further deliberation with the following instruction:

I have found your verdict to be an inconsistent one.
Because of the Court's finding of permanent injury and the award that you all determined was appropriate of past medical expenses, there must be an accompanying award of pain and suffering in Paragraph 5 of the verdict form.
So I am sending you back to deliberate in that regard, looking at Paragraph 5, and your determination in that regard must be based on the evidence that you have heard.

         Eleven minutes later, the jury returned the same verdict for medical damages and added only $1000 for past non-economic damages ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.