The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
This is an action arising under the Jones Act to recover damages for personal injuries.
The jury returned a verdict which reads in part as follows:
'* * * we the undersigned agree to award plaintiff $ 45,000 for inability to fully fulfill his duties and $ 10,000 for pain and suffering caused by his accident due to this negligence.'
The Court thereupon entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $ 55,000.00.
The sole matter before the Court is defendant's motion for new trial based upon the following reasons:
1. The verdict was indefinite, improper and contrary to the instructions of the Court.
2. The verdict was excessive.
I am satisfied that the verdict as returned by the jury reflects a clear understanding of the court's instructions as they related to the elements of damages. One of the crucial issues for the jury's determination hinged on whether plaintiff had sustained an impairment of earning power despite an increase of his wages following his injury. It is apparent that the jury recognized such impairment to the extent of $ 45,000.00, making a distinct and separate award of $ 10,000.00 for pain and suffering.
I am cognizant that no particular set or form of words is required in a verdict, and any words which convey beyond a reasonable doubt the meaning and intention of the jury are sufficient. Although defective in form, if a verdict substantially finds the question in issue in such a way as will enable the Court intelligently to pronounce judgment thereon for one or the other party, according to the manifest intention of the jury, it is sufficiently certain. 53 Am.Jur., Sec. 1050 p. 726.
At the time of the reading of the verdict, the Court did not have a scintilla of doubt or reservation as to the manifest intention of the jury, for had the slightest uncertainty existed, the Court would have directed the jury to rephrase the verdict.
While plaintiff was employed as an engineer on defendant's vessel and was engaged in making repairs to a suction line, a fellow employee negligently turned on an air hose causing air, water and dirt to be blown into plaintiff's face which knocked him backwards striking his head against an iron hull support. Plaintiff sustained a fractured skull, a back and neck injury with a partial occlusion of the left carotid artery which results in partial blood blockage to the brain, causing a sensation of weakness and dizziness. Upon advancement in age, coupled with arterio-sclerosis, a sudden head movement or twisting could produce a speech ...